On 9 September, the Los Angeles Timesâ€™ Amina Khan wrote a feature highlighting the rediscovery and revitalization of the Campanile fossil collection at University of California Berkeley. Tucked away in one of the oldest buildings on campus, the collection of fossils from the McKittrick and La Brea tar pits was half-forgotten for many years. The Campanile, also known as Sather Tower, is celebrating its hundred-year anniversary, and houses around 300,000 fossils including giant sloths, cave bears, and petrified wood.
While study of these fossils was sidelined for a long time, new advances and approaches to paleontology and new interests such as the effects of climate changes on the animal populations have resulted in dusting off, literally and figuratively, this collection. Neglect has damaged some of the specimens, and current grants are only enough to begin restoration and curation of part of the collection. However, the newfound purpose researchers have found for this half-forgotten collection serves as an important reminder of the necessity of maintaining and properly cataloging aging and sidelined collections for future scientific endeavors.
The full LA Times article can be found at http://www.latimes.com/science/great-reads/la-sci-c1-belltower-bones-20150909-story.html.