Questions for a Paleontologist
Interested in Fossils or Paleontology? Do you want to know what a paleontologist does? Browse these "Questions for a Paleontologist" and learn what they do!
Interview with Sharon E. Holte
Sharon E. Holte excavating in a cave.
Name: Sharon E. Holte
Area of Focus: Vertebrate Paleontology
Institution: University of Florida - Florida Museum of Natural History
1. How did you become interested in Paleontology?
When I was a little kid my parents took me to the Science Museum of Minnesota and I saw my first dinosaur skeleton. I was hooked.
2. Explain the aspect of Paleontology that you focus on.
Currently, my research focuses on understanding how different groups of canids (dogs) behaved 18.5 million years ago.
3. What do you do in the course of a day as a Paleontologist?
As a graduate student, I actively teach undergraduate students about animal diversity, anatomy, and about STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) education. For my dissertation, I am developing 3D images through CT scans and surface scanning software of modern and fossil animals for comparison.
4. What was your favorite discovery or field experience?
One of my favorite things I have found in the field is a humerus (upper arm bone) of a Ice Age giant short-faced bear from the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota.
5. Is there anything else you want to say about being a Paleontologist?
One of my favorite things about being a paleontologist is that it combines so many different fields. A paleontologist needs to have a good understanding of geology, biology, chemistry, etc. I am always learning something new.
Sharon Holte looking for fossils in small spaces!
Sharon Holte excavating at the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota.
Sharon Holte with a recently excavated mammoth rib!