More Bugs!


Valesguya disjuncta aka scavenger fly

This has been an exciting week in Paleontology! A few days ago, the discovery of a feathered dinosaur tail fragment was all over the internet and yesterday our stackshot equipment (which was being fixed) returned to the lab. Ok- maybe a feathered dinosaur tail beats some camera equipment, but regardless, I was pretty excited to get back to photographing our collection. We have a small collection of insects encased in Baltic amber and we decided this was a great time to test out our recently improved stackshot.

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Fossil Dinosaur Eggs at the VMNH

About 66 million years ago, at the end of the Age of the Dinosaurs, Montana was home to many different kinds of dinosaurs, big and small.  Those dinosaurs lived and bred in the lush riverine landscapes of a much warmer Montana.  Hundreds of small fossils from this ancient ecosystem are housed in the VMNH collections from the Cretaceous-aged Hell Creek Formation.  A recent study published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology by Frankie D. Jackson and David J. Varricchio of Montana State University found a new type of dinosaur egg.


Dinosaur egg shell fragments for the new egg species Dimorphoolithus bennetti

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How-to How-to

Blog Post by Lucy Treado, Paleontology Intern

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How-to How-to… No, I am not stuttering. This is why I am here in the paleontology lab. I am helping to write and test a couple of how-to guides. The first is a how-to guide on the identification of invertebrate fossils from Solite Quarry, which will hopefully aid future interns and volunteers in understanding the collection. For the most part, this guide is already well put together and features images of the fossil organisms as well as images of Continue reading

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Guest Blog: New App Features Fossils from the VMNH Collections


3D Fossil, an app that was just released this past month features material from the VMNH collection of pre-Dinosaur Age fossils (Paleozoic). These fossils include rare specimens that are not on display, such as the fossil starfish shown above, and can only be seen in this app.

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Titanoboa Talk goes online with Science Circle


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This past Saturday, July 30th, Dr. Alex Hastings (Asst. Curator of Paleontology at the VMNH) gave an online presentation for the international community called Science Circle.  This group gets together regularly via Second Life, which allows people from all over the world to interact in a virtual setting. For the presentation, Science Circle member Dr. Bill Schmachtenberg (Ferrum College & Franklin County High School) set up some images of the VMNH as well as some large snakes in the background for the virtual presentation.

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Digging for Dinosaurs in Wyoming

This summer, the VMNH paired up with Lynchburg College and headed to northern Wyoming to help excavate out Jurassic dinosaur bones from a 140 million year old site.


Dr. Brooke Haiar of Lynchburg College (right) directing the field crew at the dinosaur site in Wyoming.

The bones belong to a sauropod (long-necked dinosaur), including key parts of the hip and ankle that tell researchers a lot about how these animals moved.  The site has been worked on previously, and from bones extracted in 2014, tail vertebrae of the animal seem most similar to Continue reading

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Guest Blog: Liz’s Summer Internship


My name is Elizabeth Mizikar, and I am a rising senior at Pennsylvania State University. I am majoring in Geobiology and plan on pursuing graduate school in the future. Recently, I began a five week internship at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in the Paleontology Department. Over the last two weeks, I have gained a lot of experience working in the Prep Lab.

On the first day of my internship, I joined the museum on a field site excavation. Throughout Continue reading

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