The Lab That Time Remembered

You can watch paleontologists at work in the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Dinosaur Hall.
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Katie Hunt hard at work excavating a specimen in the Paleo Prep Lab.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEREMY KRAMER

Katie Hunt could not be more excited about the new specimen she’s working on. “I opened up this field jacket on Friday,” she says. “I found out there’s a whole second vertebra in there. And there was a fully articulated little tail in there, too, which is really exciting. It’s 21 little bones.” Hunt is the paleo lab manager for Elevation Science Institute, a nonprofit organization that works in the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Paleo Prep Lab located in the Dinosaur Hall. She spends her days excavating, puzzling, and preparing fossils in view of museum guests. Many people walking past the windows of the lab assume that it’s fake, but real work takes place behind that glass.

The megavert field jacket from the Montana digsite.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEREMY KRAMER

After using the museum as a repository since 2017, Elevation Science made the partnership official in November 2023. Since then, more than two tons of specimens have been regularly rolling into the lab straight from dig sites in Montana. According to Hunt, the lab (which was built in 2018) was chosen due to how new and state-of-the-art it is. “This lab space has a lot more equipment than we had before, so that makes it a whole lot safer. It means that we can get a whole lot more done,” she says. If you want to see the scientists in action, you can usually catch them working in the Paleo Prep Lab on Mondays, Thursdays, and weekends.

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