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Fossil excavation - why do we use tin foil?


IsaacTheFossilMan

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IsaacTheFossilMan

Hi! 

So, uhm... Tin foil? For the non British among you, you probably know it as aluminium foil. Anyways anyways, whatever it's called, whenever I see people excavate, or even transport, fossils, they wrap it in it. Can anyone explain this to me? Bit of a newbie sorry, I usually wrap it in kitchen roll, so it is safe... Cheers in advance! :)

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Foil is used for several purposes.   On small dinosaur bones I typically wrap them up tightly, helps keep them from falling apart and if the bone does break its all there when prepped so you dont loose any pieces.   On larger bones that need to be plastered it serves as a barrier between the bone and the plaster.  Makes for an easier and cleaner removal of the jacket.  Lots of matrix on bones the foil makes for a cleaner transport.

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Aluminum foil can be wrapped around a fossil, especially one that wants to fall apart, and it will hold its shape, thereby holding the thing together.  

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It also protects the fossils from extraterrestrial transmissions...

:muahaha:

 

(had to post a joke as the others beat me to the answer)

 

Interestingly, burlap (as in potato sacks) were used for the same purpose historically back when aluminum was an expensive metal.

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Hi,

 

I use aluminum foil to wrap fragile fossils around them with, by crumpling aluminum foil. This ensures that the fossil is not too tight, and when you have a full bag or a full bucket, all the fossils are protected "smoothly" from each other because the just crumpled foil allows you to settle with the weight, but traps air that also serves as insulation. I don’t know if my explanation is clear...

 

Coco

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Thomas.Dodson

Another benefit of foil is even if fragile fossils break or separate in transit they have all their pieces present/in place making for easier repair. It beats a jigsaw puzzle.

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pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon

As you said, though, @IsaacTheFossilMan, I've seen plenty of people also use plastic foil to tightly pack their smaller, fragile fossils, for much the same reasons as given here for the use of tin foil... Thus, for small specimens, it appears to me this is a matter of preference.

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16 hours ago, LabRatKing said:

It also protects the fossils from extraterrestrial transmissions...

:muahaha:


I got a good chuckle from this. Thanks for that! :default_rofl:

 

As to the O.P.’s question... There are a lot of good answers above. I’ve also used paper towels to protect fossils in the bag/bucket. However, they won’t hold broken pieces together as well as the other options. Unless you bring tape, which helps, but makes things a little harder to unwrap when back at home.

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IsaacTheFossilMan
9 minutes ago, FossilNerd said:

Unless you bring tape, which helps, but makes things a little harder to unwrap when back at home.

This is usually what I do, and, can confirm, it does get a bit harder... However, I hate the scrunchy noise of foil!

 

16 hours ago, LabRatKing said:

It also protects the fossils from extraterrestrial transmissions...

:muahaha:

"welcome to earth."
"hello boys, I'm baaaaaaaaaaack!"

If you know what those quotes are from, congratulations, you've watched the best alien film... Probably not as many times as me though ;)

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45 minutes ago, IsaacTheFossilMan said:

This is usually what I do, and, can confirm, it does get a bit harder... However, I hate the scrunchy noise of foil!

 

"welcome to earth."
"hello boys, I'm baaaaaaaaaaack!"

If you know what those quotes are from, congratulations, you've watched the best alien film... Probably not as many times as me though ;)

The 4th of July movie, I liked it. I also like Close Encounters of the third kind.   Our grocery has foil from thin, people make smaller squares, to Bar B Q grill thickness.  

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