For the most part, the giant ammonite fossils came out of the ground in good condition, and none of them required extensive preparation. In most cases, the original shell material of the Kremmling ammonites had crumbled with time, and all that remained was an internal mudstone mold of the animal.

In some cases, preparation was as simple as taking a hose and a stiff brush to the ammonite fossil to remove dirt from the surface. The hardest part of this job was getting the fossil into the sink! Removing a fossil ammonite's dirty coat has more than cosmetic purposes; it reveals features that can be used to identify the species and learn more about what happened to the ammonite after it died.

Harder sediment on an ammonite fossil is likely to collect in the smallest coil at the center. This can be cleared away using an air scribe. Sounding like a dentist's drill but working more like a tiny jackhammer, the air scribe has a fast-rotating tip that chips off excess sediment while a steady stream of air blows the debris away.


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