The art of finding and discovering fossils: a personal perspective

Malte C. Ebach*, Patrick M. Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Palaeontology, the study of fossils, is an enjoyable activity: one that many from the public rarely see in action. For palaeontologists, finding a fossil is not the same as discovering a fossil. Anyone can find a fossil by being simply the first person to unearth, pick up and recognizing something of interest. A discovery, however, comes when that fossil is compared to other known specimens, described, identified as an existing species, or named as a new one. Only palaeontologists compare, describe and name fossils something they spend a great deal of time doing. Surprisingly, finding fossils is only a small part of palaeontology and is something palaeontologists rarely do. Discovery is the true joy of palaeontology. The authors share their own personal experiences of how they have found and discovered fossils, as well as unveiling how that process works. Readers will be surprised how exhilarating taxonomy really is once you gain a glimpse into the mind of the palaeontologist.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)229-238
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales
    Issue numberPart 2
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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