Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument - Paleontology Program (U.S. National Park Service)

Scientific studies have been conducted at Florissant since the 1870s. Maintaining an active research program is an important part of the monument’s mission. The paleontology program is overseen by the park paleontologist, Dr. Herb Meyer. The program conducts research, identifies and monitors fossil sites, publishes information, provides education to the public, helps research by other institutions, and collaborates with other paleontological sties both domestically and abroad.

Florissant Fossil Beds is "still digging" for fossils. It is part of the park's mission to conduct research-driven excavations as long as they are done in a scientific manner. Excavations are either conducted by the park paleontologist and staff, or by academic institutions with an approved research permit.

a 2010 Paleontology Intern

NPS Photo by Sheena Harper

Current and active research at the park includes studies in the following areas:

  • Analysis of pollen from the Mammoth excavation site
  • Analysis of fossil freshwater invertebrates to understand the ancient climate
  • Comparison of modern forests with the fossil flora at Florissant
  • Electromagnetic surveying of fossil redwood stumps
  • Volcanic ash studies on the mineralogy and geochemistry

In cooperation with our sister park in Sexi Peru, El Bosque Petrificado Piedra Chamana

  • Comparison of fossil leaves and wood for climate proxies

Research to be published soon:

  • Fossil diatom studies
  • Taphonomic analysis of Florissant's insects

Click on "Interns" to meet the 2011 Paleontology Program Interns


Last updated: February 11, 2019

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 185
Florissant, CO 80816


(719) 748-3253

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