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Collect everything!

When I first started collecting for the local museum I asked the curator what he would like me to concentrate on. He replied "Everything". He explained that the museum wasn't there to just collect one of everything. He said that only through collecting multiple samples of the same thing could you start to find out about the variations within a species. He showed me examples of fossils that had been collected over a period of a hundred years. They were from the same species but there were variations. The bigger the data base, the better chance of identification. Lesson learned. So I started collecting Eocene crabs that had already been described for the museum. The decapod shown is a species called Lophoranina rossi. It's from the Santee Limestone of South Carolina. It's one of several dozen that I've collected. The other photo shows a block of limestone with a specimen in it. The side shown is the front claws crossed. They're the first claws associated with this species. What's significant about the claws are that the shape puts them into a group of decapods only found in the Pacific off the coast of Japan. A significant find that only happened through collecting multiple specimens. So pick out a fossil that's common in your area and start a collection that will show the variations within the species. Keep detailed locality information so that when you turn your collection over to a museum it can be used by other researchers later. Along the way you might just find a specimen that will qualify as a new species. I found 16 news species of crabs that way. Good hunting!
Location Berkeley County, South Carolina, USA

ID767
Memberpaleobum
Date Added1/19/2007

One of several dozen specimens collected of this species. I spent over four hours removing the limestone from the carapace.
The two front claws crossed under the carapace. The unique shape is shown in the upper right corner.
  

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Its a good thing this hobby is so fun!
Its a good thing this hobby is so fun!
Its a good thing this hobby is so fun!
Its a good thing this hobby is so fun!
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