Our workshop undertakes extraction and preparation of fossils and casts. Palaeontologists can only study fossils once they are extracted from their matrix in which they were found on the field.
The main activities of the workshop are:
Extraction of fossils. The preparation differs depending on the kind of rock which encases the fossils (carbonates, clays, siliceous). Extraction can be done using diverse techniques (alone or in combination): either by chemical treatment of by mechanical techniques (micrograveur, micro-sandblaster, needles, etc).
Casting of fossils. Replicas of fossils are made for various reasons, sometimes because the original specimen is too fragile to be manipulated, or for putting on exhibition, sometimes because, after study, the specimen has to be repatriated to the country in which it was found, sometimes for exchanges of casts between other French or international institutions.
Preparation of microfossils.As their name indicates, microfossils are tiny and must be extracted from the encasing rock before they can be studied. Some, such as foraminiferans are examined in thin sections. Others, however, need to be examined « in the round » and the methods of extraction vary depending on the rock type in which they occur. Most techniques rely on chemical methods, followed by mounting on a slide, or by sorting under a binocular microscope.