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Fossil Identification

As a service to the public, museum staff can identify fossils. You may email clear photographs with a ruler or similar scale to the curator, Dr. Andy Farke, or stop by the museum office. We recommend calling or emailing ahead of time to set an appointment, to ensure staff availability. Please do not leave items at the museum. To assist identification, it is helpful to have information on where the fossil was found, if known.

Note that we cannot provide appraisals or any statement on the monetary value of specimens. We remind all collectors to please abide by relevant laws and regulations concerning collection and possession of natural history objects. Museum staff reserve the right to refuse identification.

Donations of fossils are accepted only on a very limited basis, subject to staff approval. Although we would love to accept every donation of a fossil that is offered, we are also limited by space and financial resources. Similarly, museum donations generally require specific geographic and legal documentation to establish provenance and provide maximum scientific information for future researchers. The Alf Museum cannot identify or accept any donations of archaeological objects or human remains.

One of the most common questions we get is, “Did I find a dinosaur egg?” Unfortunately, the answer is nearly always no. Many natural processes can form rocks into egg-like shapes, sometimes even with markings that superficially look like embryos. River and stream cobbles often look very much like a large egg, and septarian nodules might even appear to have little baby dinosaur bones (which are actually crystals). If you think you have an egg, we are still happy to look at it (within the boundaries outlined above), but please be aware that we will probably have to give you disappointing news. Even if it’s not an egg, every rock and fossil still has an amazing story!