Faculty at the university are employing cutting-edge techniques to study animals and their habitats that disappeared 65 million years ago, he said.
“Paleontology was viewed by some people as a dying science,” he said. “But with new methods being developed in recent years like isotopic analysis, it’s been revitalized. We’re learning more about the chemical composition of fossils, where the animals lived and what the climate was like.”
Schwalbach’s work is cut out for him. In the paleontology wing of the research center, hundreds of unopened storage boxes sit in tidy rows bearing a handwritten label denoting their place of origin.
“It took us an hour and a half to unload the truck,” Hunda said. “As I expected, they front-loaded it, too, so we were exhausted by the time we got to the heaviest boxes.”
Such is life for a museum curator. She teaches a UC geology course on museum curation so students can get workplace experience.
“As curator, there is not a job I don’t do,” Hunda said. “So I sweep floors, if necessary, to keep the place clean and brightly lit so when researchers come to do research here they feel welcome.”