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What's that you've found?
North Texas has a rich geological and paleontological history. Many of the specimens in the Museum’s collections were discovered by everyday folks who found something odd and wanted to have it identified. Our research staff can usually identify a specimen based on a few clear photographs.
However, there are a lot of things in nature that can look like they’re an ancient fossil of some kind but aren't actually fossils. Curious if you've stumbled upon a great discovery? Submit your pictures, using the form below, to our team of experts.
In the picture, please include:
- A common object for size reference, like a ruler, coin, or banana
- The location where the object was found
- Any other possibly relevant clues that may explain the condition of the object
Frequently Asked Questions about Specimens
Can I leave a fossil at the Perot Museum to be identified, and then come back for it later?
We do not store specimens for identification purposes. Instead, why don’t you arrange an appointment with Paleontology Lab Director Dr. Ron Tykoski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have pictures of your specimen, you can send them to us via our identification form. We can often identify a specimen from pictures alone.
If I bring in a fossil, will I find out how much money it is worth?
It is the Museum’s policy that we do not give monetary appraisals for specimens. We can, however, tell you the scientific and natural significance of the specimen.
Can anyone loan a fossil to, or borrow a fossil from, the Perot Museum?
The Museum can only facilitate specimen loans between itself and other institutions such as museums or universities, and unfortunately cannot loan to or borrow from individuals.
I am considering donating one or more fossils to the Perot Museum. What types of fossils do you accept?
We accept a wide variety of fossil organisms that have been found all over the world, and will accept a fossil donation as long as it meets all of the following conditions:
- It has been legally obtained and is owned solely by the donor.
- It can provide an insight to science and the natural world by having pertinent data included. The bare minimum data required for a fossil to be accepted is the precise place at which the fossil was excavated and who the previous owner(s) were (if applicable).
- It is donated without conditions or restrictions.
- Proper care of the specimen will not place a significant financial or logistical burden on the Museum.
- The curator makes the final determination if a specimen is to be accepted into the Museum’s collection.
What do I need to provide with a fossil donation?
To accept a fossil donation, we also need the following with it:
- Its provenance, meaning the entire ownership history of the fossil.
- All available data concerning the fossil (e.g. organism type, place it was found, rock layer from which it was excavated, etc.). Fossils that have more data are stronger candidates for acceptance into our collection, as these are the fossils that are more useful for research and education.
- If available, a copy of field notes pertaining to the fossil during excavation.
- If applicable, a copy of the permit obtained for collection of the fossil, or a copy of the receipt of purchase of the fossil.
If my donation is accepted, can I or my family ever come back in the future and retrieve it?
When a specimen is donated, it permanently becomes property of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. This way, the specimen can be cared for and preserved for decades to come so that future generations have the opportunity to learn about the natural world from the object.
Are fossil donations tax-deductible?
Yes! Each donation is deductible to the extent allowed by the IRS. If your donation is valued above $500.00, please provide the Museum with IRS Form 8283 as well as an appraisal receipt from an independent company to obtain a tax deduction.
What happens to fossils after they are donated?
Newly acquired fossils have their data recorded into the collection catalog, and then are found a permanent home within protective storage. Fossils can be used for study and research, be published in new scientific literatures, and/or be displayed in Museum exhibits. Please note that it is not guaranteed that your fossil will be displayed in an exhibit, but will nonetheless serve a vital role in scientific progress and education as a research specimen.