Education and advocacy to improve ethics, standards, and practices in paleontology

Histology Workshop

The end product of histological sampling can yield remarkable results that cannot be obtained through x-ray or CT analysis alone. Procedures leading to the end result can be complex, fraught with problems, and dangerous to perform.

The histology seminar will go over the basics of histological sampling methodologies with hands on demonstrations. Pariticpants will go through the process from beginning to end product.

Topics will include:


     Sepecimen Sampling


     Slide fixing




A $25 materials fee will go towards required supplies.

Computed Tomography (CT) Workshop

The University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility (UTCT; will host a 1-day workshop on the fundamentals of acquiring and working with CT data of biological and paleontological samples.

Content will include an overview of what CT data represent, how these data are acquired, and guidelines for specimen selection/preparation. The workshop will include hands-on training in basic image processing of CT data, including: basic data handling; reslicing; creating 3D animated renderings (both volumetric and isosurface); and segmenting components of the data (e.g., endocasts, individual bones). Software employed will include Avizo® and ImageJ. Time permitting, participants may have the opportunity to work with their own CT data.

This one day workshop will serve as an introduction to understanding the process of CT acquisition. Participants will tour the UTCT facility, and get hands on experience with handling and interpreting data.


Ethics Symposium

Often without explicitly stating it, the decisions and methodologies we practice are based on ethical reasoning. This is a critical element to operating in any field.  When it comes to paleontological data, ethical decision-making and reasoning should be at the core of our thinking. However, it may not be entirely clear what this means or how to place it in context.

Here, we address this topic with targeted talks on various aspects of ethics in paleontology. Additionally, discussion time will allow for feedback, comments, and questions regarding each topic. The day will close with attendees participating in an audit of the AMMP Code of Ethics; a fundamental document that helps define us as an Association.


Wednesday Events

April 19-22, 2017


13. Ethics of the Use of Specimens

The preparator is able to mitigate the risk of damage from research and education as much as possible without compromising the scientific value of a fossil specimen. The preparator is able to evaluate whether the specimen would be subject to undue or unnecessary risk by sampling, handling, loan, or display. A qualified preparator understands exhibition as a form of specialized specimen storage, and can evaluate exhibitions and their accompanying furniture, lighting, and other materials to ensure their compatibility with sound conservation practices.  

- Defining the Professional Preparator: Essential Competencies, 2012