Paleontology Apprentice

San Diego Natural History Museum
August 23, 2021
1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA
Job Type
Type of Pay
Contact Name
Tom Demere
Contact Email


Applications are invited for four (4) paid undergraduate student positions in the Department of Paleontology at the San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat). This is the third year of this immersive apprenticeship program to provide students with Museum-based experience in fossil preparation, identification, and curation.

Objectives & Duties:

Specific fossil preparation tasks to be taught will include mechanical preparation of invertebrate and vertebrate fossils using static hand tools and pneumatic tools; wet screening of sediment samples to concentrate micro-invertebrate and micro-vertebrate fossils; consolidation of fossils using various chemical consolidants; and construction of fiberglass-reinforced plaster support cradles for vertebrate fossils.

Specific curation tasks to be taught will include: microscopic “picking” of wet-screened sediment concentrate for micro-invertebrate and micro-vertebrate fossils; general sorting and taxonomic identification of invertebrate and vertebrate fossils; organizing sorted fossils into individual species lots and placing in archival specimen trays, plastic vials, glass vials, and/or gel capsules; entering collection locality and specimen identification information into the SDNHM Paleontology Collection Database; writing locality and specimen tracking numbers on catalogued fossils; placing organized, trayed, catalogued, and numbered fossils into steel drawers and storage cabinets in The Nat Paleontology Collection.

Examples of fossil specimen projects to be worked on as part of the internship include: late Pleistocene terrestrial and marine microvertebrate fossils from coastal southern California; early and middle Pleistocene terrestrial macrovertebrate fossils from inland southern California; late Pliocene and late Miocene marine invertebrate and vertebrate fossils from coastal and inland southern California; middle Miocene terrestrial vertebrates from coastal southern California; middle Eocene terrestrial vertebrate fossils from coastal southern California; and late Cretaceous marine invertebrate fossils from coastal southern California.


The apprenticeship program will involve up to 12 hours of work per week over a total period of 20 (twenty) weeks (September 2021 through January 2022). Compensation will be $16.00 per hour.


To be considered for this position, applicants must be full-time students in the final two years of an earth science undergraduate degree program (or equivalent).

Applicants should submit a cover letter/email, a succinct statement (250-500 words) detailing course work completed and scientific interests, and the names and contact information for two faculty references. Please submit materials to Thomas A. Deméré ( by September 20, 2021.

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