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 Jason P. Schein
Jason P. Schein doing field work in the Big Horn Basin.
Name: Jason P. Schein
Area of Focus: Dinosaurs of western North America and Ecosystems of the Bighorn Basin region.
Institution: Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute
1. How did you become interested in Paleontology?
So many answers to that question! Fossil hunting trips with my dad as a kid. A deep love of science, exploration, discovery, and nature. And I just never grew out of my dinosaur phase!
2. Explain the aspect of Paleontology that you focus on.
These days I mostly study the late Jurassic and latest Cretaceous ecosystems preserved in the northern Bighorn Basin. While dinosaurs are fascinating and a lot of fun, they are just one piece of the puzzle. To best understand the entire ecosystem, we collect and study the fossilized remains of the plants and other animals, and even the rocks throughout our region.
3. What do you do in the course of a day as a Paleontologist?
I guess that depends on what time of year you're asking. Lately I've been planning, organizing, and working out logistics for the 2017 Field Expedition. Other times of the year I'm focusing on outreach efforts, partnering with other groups and institutions for outreach, education, or research collaborations, or when I have time for research, it's mostly reading - reading, reading, and more reading!
4. What was your favorite discovery or field experience?
My favorite discovery will probably always be my first "big" discovery: 9 years old, near Medicine Bow, Wyoming, on my first trip out west with my dad, I found a nice piece of a 'T. rex' toe bone.
5. Is there anything else you want to say about being a Paleontologist?
I'm living my dream. What could be better?!
Jason P. Schein in the process of plaster jacketing a fossil for removal.
Jason P. Schein taking field notes on a specimen.
Jason kicking back in the Big Horn Basin.