John Day Fossil Beds Paleontology
Every summer members of the park's paleontology staff visit many of the over 700 fossil localities that make up the John Day Fossil Beds.
Before any fossils are collected from the field, careful notation and location recordings are made in field notebooks.
How do paleontologists find fossils?
The simple answer is that they know where to look! Paleontologists search certain rock types where fossils would likely have been preserved. For example, water-lain strata such as ancient lake beds and river or floodplain deposits often contain fossils. Then the dirty work begins. They examine the ground in search of any bone or plant fragments. Paleontologists often prospect for new remains exposed after the beds have weathered for awhile.
Did You Know?
The wildflowers at the Painted Hills provide abundant sources of food for the monument's many butterfly species.