A paleontology lab located in Colorado's Woodland Park prepares, restores, and assembles fossils for dinosaur displays in prestigious museums and other exhibits around the world.
Some projects at the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center in Woodland Park take up to three years to complete for a full dinosaur skeleton reconstruction. The resource center offers glass windows into the paleontology laboratory, run by Triebold Paleontology Inc., for visitors to watch technicians work tediously away.
Work completed in this Colorado laboratory can be seen in the Humboldt Museum of Berlin, the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
The first stage the lab technicians work through is the preparation of the rocks they receive from the field. Technicians open the rocks to reveal the fossilized materials. This delicate process can sometimes take months to complete.
After the fossils are extracted from the rock, technicians utilize immaculate care to handle the fossils. Some might have gaps from erosion over time. Technicians will often then use a specialized glue to mend the cracks.
After the restoration process is complete, technicians begin the molding and cast for the dinosaur fossil displays. A two-part silicone mold is crafted as an exact replica of the fossils used to assemble the dinosaur. The original fossils are catalogued and kept in storage.
In the museum, the fossil molds are connected around a steel structure. Then the skeleton is painted to look like the original fossil. All displays and replicates are handcrafted to be exact models of the original fossils discovered and brought to the laboratory. The Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center features displays of dinosaurs, prehistoric marine reptiles, pterosaurs, and fish of North America’s late Cretaceous period.
The dinosaur skeleton displays crafted at the resource center take 6 months to 3 years to complete before displayed in exhibits located around the world.