A Celebration of Fossils: Fossil Stories

October 14, 2015, is National Fossil Day, a day to celebrate all things fossils! Museums around the country are celebrating with fossil-related events the entire month of October, especially during the week of Fossil Day. BHL will be joining the fossil-mania next week with our social media campaign, Fossil Stories, running October 13-16, 2015.

Rocks hold the key to the history of life on Earth. Buried within the earth are millions of years’ worth of fossils, each of which tells a unique story about the life and ecosystems that once dominated our planet. These fossils not only reveal Earth’s past, but also provide insight into our future. Yet, the scientific study of these fossils began just a few hundred years ago.

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Fossil Stories, presented by the Biodiversity Heritage Library in collaboration with several of our partner institutions, explores the world of fossils, the history of paleontology, and the men, women, and publications that shaped our knowledge about life preserved in rocks. October 13-16, BHL and our participating partner institutions will be producing a plethora of fossil content, which will publish on our blog, Twitter, and Facebook. All content will be tagged with the hashtag #FossilStories. We’ll also have hundreds of fabulous historic fossil illustrations available in Flickr and Pinterest, as well as a collection of seminal books in the history of paleontology in our BHL Fossil Stories collection.

The highlights of our campaign will be a series of three live webcasts at several of our participating partner institutions, as well as a citizen science challenge in partnership with The Field Book Project, the Smithsonian Transcription Center, and the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

The Fossil Stories webcasts will feature paleontologists, fossil research, and fossil exhibits at some of America’s most prestigious natural history institutions. For the webcasts featuring paleontologists at the respective institutions, you’ll have the opportunity to ask these experts your fossil questions!

The webcast schedule is:

  • “Antarctic Dinosaurs with Dr. Peter J. Makovicky.” Presented by The Field Museum.
  • “Exploring The FossiLab with Advait Jukar.” Presented by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
  • “Behind the Scenes at the NHMLA Dino Lab.” Presented by the Natural History Museum, Los Angeles County.

*For events on Periscope, follow the indicated account on Periscope (Periscope will then alert you when the webcast is live) OR follow @BioDivLibrary or the presenting institution on Twitter to get the link to the event. When the event is live, the link to access the webcast will be tweeted out on the host institution’s Twitter account and BHL’s Twitter account.

Citizen Science Challenge
For Fossil Stories, we’re teaming up with The Field Book Project, the Smithsonian Transcription Center, and Smithsonian Institution Archives to issue you a citizen science challenge! Today, we’re releasing a set of paleontology field notes from the Smithsonian’s collection into the Transcription Center. Can you help transcribe all of them by the end of the campaign, October 16? There’s a reward if all of the field notes are successfully transcribed by the end of the challenge. Stay tuned to our blog later today to learn more about the challenge!

So be sure to follow #FossilStories all next week to explore fossils and the history of paleontology, and tune in later today to get more details on our transcription challenge. We know you’ll dig the event!

Avatar for Grace Costantino
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Grace Costantino served as the Outreach and Communication Manager for the Biodiversity Heritage Library from 2014 to 2021. In this capacity, she developed and managed BHL's communication strategy, oversaw social media initiatives, and engaged with the public to excite audiences about the wealth of biodiversity heritage available in BHL. Prior to her role as Outreach and Communication Manager, Grace served as the Digital Collections Librarian for Smithsonian Libraries and as the Program Manager for BHL.