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Fossil hunting with cement mixers and Fairy Liquid
If anybody's ever been concerned about putting odd bits and pieces to some
interesting use, then a new paper by Eric Freeman could be of interest.
Some will recognize him as a hunter of English Mesozoic mammals way back
then in the 1970s, and especially the Middle Jurassic locality of
Kirtlington, Oxfordshire. However, less widely known is that Freeman, EF is
actually an imaginative chemist.
Around a quarter of a century ago, he was turning his knowledge of chemistry
towards a problem. How do you cheaply and efficiently find tiny fossils in
large amounts of otherwise dull sediment? His mullings and experiments led
him to conclude upon and demonstrate the possibilities of employing cement
mixers, buckets, pillow cases, flour sieves, saucepans, Fairy Liquid
detergent, keresene, paraffin wax...
A quarter of a century later, he seems to have decided it would be a good
idea to again rush into print on these interfacial methods. The enjoyable
romp is presently freely accessible on line (surprisingly enough).
Freeman EF (2010), The large-scale extraction of microvertebrate fossils
from sediment residues using Interfacial Methods, Proceedings of the
Geologists' Association, 2010, vol.121 (1), pages 4-12.
Relevant journal webpage-link: