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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:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00167878

Article url
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=MImg&_imagekey=B94SW-4YB687K-1-9&_cdi=56449&_user=10&_pii=S0016787809000753&_orig=browse&_coverDate=12%2F31%2F2010&_sk=998789998&view=c&wchp=dGLzVzb-zSkWA&md5=87e6475f8fd9a235e340ef1273e25e74&ie=/sdarticle.pdf