This exhibition closed September 5, 2005
FOSSILS ON DISPLAY IN THE FIELD IN THE LAB MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL DINOSAUR HUNTER SPONSORS
FOSSIL HUNTERS SAN DIEGO, San Diego Natural History Museum's new exhibition, shows visitors how the Museum's paleontologists hunt for local fossilswhat they look for, the tools they use, how they excavate and transport the fossils, and how they prepare and study them. The reward of the hunt is discovering what the fossils reveal about San Diego's fascinating past.
FOSSIL HUNTERS SAN DIEGO makes it possible for visitors to meet the changing cast of characters that lived right here in San Diego County over millions of yearsdinosaurs, rhinoceros, primates, sea cows, walrus, whales, mammoths, mastodons and more.
The staff of the Museum's Department of Paleontological Services hunts for the majority of fossils found by the Museum, literally running behind huge bulldozers as they scrape the land in preparation for building and development. This is one of a few San Diego-based consulting groups specializing in the collection, salvage, preparation, and curation of paleontological resources (fossils) from development-slated acreage. Services also include paleontological resource assessment of property (residential, commercial, municipal), relevant to environmental impact studies.
The Paleontology staff has provided consulting services since 1981 for many San Diego County residential developers; on Caltrans roadway construction projects, and City of San Diego pipeline replacement and construction projects.
Thousands of significant fossils have been salvaged from construction sites in San Diego, Orange, and Imperial counties. These fossils are now permanently housed at the San Diego Natural History Museum where many are, or have been, on public exhibit. Researchers from around the world have studied many of the salvaged fossils and numerous scientific papers have been published on these specimens.
in the Field: Discovery and Excavation
in the Lab: Preparation and Research
Making Sense of It All
Fossils on Display
In 1967, at the age of thirteen, he found his first dinosaur fossil in a sea cave in La Jolla, a single hadrosaur neck vertebra. Riney made a similar find again in 1976, when he found two vertebrae from a mosasaur (giant seagoing lizard) at Point Loma. His skills for finding important fossils were recognized by Tom Deméré of San Diego Natural History Museum, who hired Riney as a curatorial assistant and field paleontologist.
The 1980s were very productive years for dinosaur discovery in San Diego County. In 1983 Riney found a hadrosaur femur and three years later thirteen hadrosaur vertebrae, all in the Carlsbad area. In 1987 he found a small foot bone of a dinosaur, and at a construction site in Carlsbad he made his most exciting find yet; an ankylosaur, on of the armored dinosaurs, a dinosaur never seen before in Alta California. It turned out to be one of the most complete dinosaur specimens ever found in the state: it even retained some of its dermal armor. Today it's on display in the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Riney is not only a talented paleontologist and geologist but also an excellent preparator. He has prepared most of the specimens that he found, as well as many others at the San Diego Natural History Museum. In addition, Riney is a talented artist and does paleontological illustrations at the Museum, some for publications.
Riney radiates his love of fossil hunting. Today he continues to search excavations, walk the beaches, and explore the cliffs of San Diego County looking for Mesozoic remains.