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Moving Right Along: Invertebrate Paleontology Collections Move Part 1

February 17, 2017
Photo showing thousands of bivalve shells.
Photo showing thousands of bivalve shells.

Bivalves! You want ’em, we got ’em! One box of the many thousands of Invertebrate Paleontology specimens we are moving into new cabinetry.

The NCSM Invertebrate Paleontology Collections contains approximately 58,000 specimens, all of which are moving thanks to a National Science Foundation Collections in Support of Biological Research Grant to the NCSM Paleontology Unit to replace deteriorating cabinetry with archival cabinets.

To do this, we have to move specimens out of old cabinetry, place them into holding cabinets, remove the old cabinets, install new cabinets, then move the specimens into them. Seems simple enough…kind of.

Photo of a woman in the foreground with her hand on a box containing invertebrate specimens, while the man in the background places specimens into a drawer.

Madison and Jacob transfer specimens of Anomia from a cart into holding cabinets.

Nothing is ever that simple. When we removed the row of old cabinetry that was lined up against the wall, we discovered the backs of the old cabinets had been rusting. Time for a bit of elbow grease…and an overnight delay to give the wall time to dry.

Photo of a man crouched on a step ladder with his gloved hands reaching into a bucket (foreground), while in the background another man with a ponytail is washing a wall.

Jacob and Jens washing the wall.

Cabinetry install time! Using palette jacks and with the help of NCSM Facilities folks, we got the first row of invertebrate cabinets installed in about a day.

A split photo. On the left, a man uses a palette jack to move a large white cabinet. Onthe right, a man in a forklift places an upper cabinet with the help of a standing man (left) and a woman (right).

On the left, Jacob uses a palette jack to place lower cabinets. On the right, Jacob, and Lilly help Jeremy place an upper cabinet.

Then it was time to move the specimens again! Bivalves lots of bivalves. This made all of us hungry for clam chowder.

Photo of three carts full of fossil clam specimens (foreground) and a chair and cabinetry (background)

Three carts full of Mercenaria. The genus Mercenaria is still around today. These clams are also known a quahogs, and make a nice chowder or baked stuffed clams.

In under a week we managed to remove an entire row of old cabinets, wash and dry a wall, install new cabinets and fill them with invertebrates. The Invertebrate Paleontology Collection is generally arranged taxonomically, but we do have some cabinets set for site specific collections. In this part of the move we’ve rehoused Protista, Porifera, Bryozoa, Brachiopoda, Cnidaria, and the bivalve part of Mollusca, as well as several site specific collections.

Photo of boxes containing bryozoans.

Boxes of beautiful bryozoans.

Though this is somewhat back breaking and mind numbing work, it has been nice to see specimens I haven’t seen in years. Please stay tuned for future installments.

Photo of a snail encrusted with oysters and worm snails. There is a specimen label in the foreground.

Three specimens for the price of one! From one of our site collections” cabinets. here we see Siphocypraea, encrusted by Serpulorbis (a worm snail) and an oyster. This is one of the many specimens whose taxonomy will be updated in our database. As Sirpulorbis is now considered to be Thylacodes.

 

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