Not Just Paleo. People in Paleo. Collections

November 21, 2015

Christina Byrd training two Ferrum College students on cataloging and labeling fossils. November 21, 2015 Photo credit: Bill Schmachtenberg

More often than not, the volunteers I work with are students who are aspiring paleontologists/biologists/geologists. This weekend was a change of pace. One of VMNH’s research associates, Dr. Bill Schmachtenberg, brought two of his students from Ferrum College to help catalog Paleozoic invertebrates. These students, Jason and Paige, have a thirst for knowledge that extends beyond the bounds of their non-paleo/bio/geo majors.

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Posted in Invertebrate Paleontology, Museums, Science, education, and philosophy | 1 Comment

Bootherium Prep Party!

The sanding crew working on various elements of the Bootherium skeleton.

The sanding crew working on various elements of the Bootherium skeleton.

In preparation for a new paleontology exhibit focused around Pleistocene fauna, one of the specimens to be included is a partial skeleton for Bootherium, a relative of the musk ox.

While VMNH does have Bootherium skeletal elements in its collection, there were not enough to reconstruct a full skeleton. Therefore, we utilized 3D scan files from the Continue reading

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Save the Date! SeAVP 2016

SEAVP 2016

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Guest Blog Follow-up: Franklin County High School Students Identify Mystery Fossils from VMNH

By William Schmachtenberg


A fossil from VMNH that was not labelled.

On August 19, 2015, high school students at Franklin County High School in Rocky Mount, VA identified fossils that had not yet been identified from the VMNH collections. At first, they compared the fossils with books on fossils and determined that they were trilobites from the Cambrian Period.
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Posted in Invertebrate Paleontology, Science and Technology, Science, education, and philosophy | 1 Comment

Checking out Carmel Church

As the new Asst. Curator of Paleontology, I wanted to see the well-known Carmel Church Quarry firsthand. It was a quick trip (Sunday to Tuesday) to check out this great fossil site. I headed over to Caroline County, Virginia with fellow VMNH paleontologist Christina Byrd to do a little digging.

View along the wall at the Carmel Church Quarry on Aug. 3 2015

View along the wall at the Carmel Church Quarry on Aug. 3 2015

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Guest Blog: Paleozoic Treasures at the Virginia Museum of Natural History

Today’s Guest Blog Post is by Bill Schmachtenberg, a VMNH Research Associate. In this blog, Bill shares his findings and experiences since working with me in the Invertebrate Paleontology Collection this summer.


I am Bill Schmachtenberg, a research associate at VMNH. My interests include Cretaceous bivalves and Paleozoic invertebrates. I teach high school Earth Science at Franklin County High School and geology and paleontology at Ferrum College in Southwest Virginia. I am also an app developer, and I am interested in creating an app that identifies a fossil Continue reading

Posted in From the Collections Room, Invertebrate Paleontology, Science, education, and philosophy | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Dinosaur Footprints in Culpeper VA

Luck Stone Quarry

Luck Stone Quarry

The paleontology crew from the VMNH headed up to Culpeper, Virginia to attend a special viewing of the impressive dinosaur trackways of the Luck Stone quarry. These fossils come from a roughly 210-million-year-old mudflat preserved in place and exposed within the quarry.

The Museum of Culpeper History put together a public event where more than 900 people could drive into the quarry and walk alongside the ancient footsteps of Virginia’s dinosaurs. Of course the museum’s paleontologists were on board!   Continue reading

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