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PaleozoologistNewb

Paleontology Career Advice.....

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PaleozoologistNewb

Hi, fellow fossil lovers! I'm new here and joined in the hopes of meeting others that might be connected to paleontology as a profession. I'm 24, and planning on returning to college when I can make enough money. I've been into dinosaurs for as far back as I can remember. I remember watching Jurassic Park as a 6 year old and being totally entranced. My novels of Jurassic Park, The Lost World(Crichton), And The Lost World(Doyle) are falling apart. But, for years my passion for dinosaurs died down, though my love of science has remained my whole life. The first time I went to college though I had the pleasure of taking a class about dinosaurs as a cake class. Sitting there, and looking at these casts and listening to these lectures, I found my love rekindled. I've played on and off with the idea of becoming a paleontologist for years afterwards, but have never been able to make up my mind. My main conundrum is that I'm interested in so many areas. I want to study all sorts of prehistoric animals. I'm also interested in paleolithic archaeology. I was hoping someone here might be willing to answer my questions. Can you focus on multiple areas of research in your career? Can one be both an archaeologist and a paleontologist? Or is there just to much specialization to branch out into different areas of research? Any help anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated!

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Auspex

Like many fields of science, the trend in Paleontology has been toward greater and greater specialization, and the biggest trick of all is to figure out how to make a living at it. Starting with an education in both Geology and Biology might get your foot in the door, but careers are now made by filling a need through specializing.

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jpc

I agree with auspex. But as you go through your classes in school, you might find that some areas of paleo intrigue you more or less as study topics. I know a lot of paleontologists who started as dino fans and are now working on mammals (or crocs, or ???) and have said good riddance to the silly overgrown lizards. Good luck and have fun.

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Missourian

I know a lot of paleontologists who started as dino fans and are now working on mammals (or crocs, or ???) and have said good riddance to the silly overgrown lizards.

Dinosaurs are the 'gateway drug' to the fossil collecting 'addiction'. :)

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-Andy-

As mentioned, it is the "making money" part that is tough.

Paleontology is a side project to me, because it isn't a viable career choice at this point in time.

I hold a full-time job as a visual artist, and give occasional freelance paleontology lessons (for free sometimes as well).

See if there are any museums in your area, it would be helpful for you to pay a visit to the curators and full-time paleontologists and speak to them.

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Mediospirifer

You may also be able to get experience in the field (and possibly explore enough to figure out what truly fascinates you) by volunteering at a museum.

Here in Ithaca, NY, the Museum of the Earth accepts and trains volunteers. I don't know a lot about that, but I was talking to a volunteer there who does fossil prep for the Museum, and she said that she'd learned through the training program. If you have something similar in your area, you might be able to get some useful hands-on experience.

Good luck!

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JohnBrian

I'm not a paleontologist or archaeologist but bear with me.

I have always had an interest in paleontology & archaeology. I took a field archaeology class twice at the local junior college in the late '70s. I would have kept taking the class but it was dropped from the curriculum :angry: . I had a TOTAL BLAST and loved every second of it even if I found nothing.

However, when I finally decided to attend college, I picked photojournalism as my major. I never got a job in photography, but I did have a BA degree so it opened up opportunities.

Fast forward to now. I'm 55, have moderate/severe arthritis & herniated disks in my back and nerve damage from the arthritis that affects my legs. I have moderate arthritis in my hands which can be problematic.

That said, I'm thinking about going back to college & getting a degree in archaeology. I'll probably get the degree by the time I'm 62 or (probably) older. I have no illusions that I could ever find employment in archaeology due to my age & physical problems. I know I would not be satisfied with a desk job or teaching as I love going out & finding "things" --- it's a treasure hunt to me & searching & finding the "gold" gives me great satisfaction.

My point is that I didn't follow my dreams & now have many regrets. So don't put off your dream for too long or you'll end up like me--- old, fat, & broken!!! :P But, don't jump headlong into your dream either (haste makes waste, etc). Keep your feet on the ground but keep your ultimate goal always in sight.

Edited by JohnBrian

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