Expedition Dinosaur 2012
Ever wonder what it’s like to dig up dinosaurs, what is it really like to be on an expedition?
It’s one of the first things we are always asked, “What’s it like to dig up a dinosaur? Then comes, “How do you know where to go? How do you know where to dig?” Well, have you seen all those documentaries on Science, Discovery, and Nat Geo? Yeah, sorry but it’s not quite like that. “Expedition Dinosaur 2012” makes you, through the use of the camera’s eye, a part of the team from day 1! You will come along with us as we pack the vehicles and hit the road, traveling 2,500 miles to our dig site in South Dakota. Then follow our day by day activities as we pitch camp and begin prospecting. There will be frustrations, set-backs, and downright disasters. There will also be that exhilarating moment of discovery when a new dinosaur first sees the light after 65 million years. And you will be there each day as the newly discovered creature emerges from the ground. How do we do it? What tools and techniques do we use? What goes right and what goes wrong. It’s field paleontology 101, no frills, no excuses, and no secrets. Welcome to the team!
Where and what is the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History?
Good questions and usually the next things asked right after the ones about dinosaurs. We’re actually a rather new museum that was only begun in 2005. No, sorry, you can’t come visit us just yet; we’ve only begun seeking a permanent home in Palm Beach County. When we find it, we will be the only natural history museum in southern Florida to have a scientific staff, research collections, and exhibits focused on archaeology, anthropology, and of course, paleontology. Until then, we have concentrated our efforts on building and displaying traveling exhibits such as “Expedition Dinosaur” which was hosted in Atlantic City last summer and is currently on view at a museum in West Palm Beach. And yes, we are a 501(c)3 non-profit that relies solely on income from our exhibits and donations.
So, what do you guys know about dinosaurs?
Glad you asked. Our Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology Robert DePalma holds a Masters Degree in paleontology from the University of Kansas and has been excavating dinosaurs and other creatures in South Dakota's Famed Hell Creek Formation for almost ten years. His expeditions have yielded many rare specimens, including diverse assemblages of dinosaur bones including two Triceratops, rare Cretaceous bird and mammal fossils, and the first insects ever recorded in Cretaceous amber from South Dakota. Current projects include the publication of scientific papers describing eight new species including a new species of maniraptoran dinosaur and a new species of primitive amphibian. His other projects include the research of flying raptors and the evolution of birds, the development of a new, entirely biologic technique for fossil preparation, and new findings regarding the predatory practices of T. rex. He counts among his friends and colleagues some of the world's top paleontologists (no name dropping please) and has been invited to present his latest findings at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontologists this fall.
Ok, sounds like you know what you’re doing, so what are you planning to do with this film?
We will be shooting this film “reality” style and intend to offer it as a teaser or pilot to a major producer (yes, we’ve already been approached) for a possible series that will follow the team on future expeditions to other localities both in the US and internationally. Of course we will also be adding it to “Expedition Dinosaur” the exhibit and using it as part of our public and school lecture program.
But why Kickstarter, doesn’t a museum get all kinds of grants for such things?
A typical museum would normally base about 35% of its budget on government and Foundation grants…not anymore! With the current economy those grants are extremely difficult to get and the funds being offered, if any, are limited. The grant process is also somewhat of a hazardous expedition in itself and can take many months and sometimes more than a year to secure. Very often awards go to the most arcane studies deemed worthy by some government agency.
So why not Kickstarter? Why not have the public fund directly those projects that they are interested in? Isn’t that what Kickstarter is all about? If you guys like this project and want to see “Expedition Dinosaur 2012” become a reality your pledge will make it happen. If not, I suppose we could always submit a grant proposal to study "The Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline in Late Cretaceous Biofacies”
Alright, cool, you need money. For an expedition. Can you break it down a bit more specifically than that?
The bulk of the funding will actually go to getting there and back, staying there, and production of the film. There will be six team members and film crew of two. Along with supplies and equipment that’s four vehicles. We tend to cover about 7,500 miles or more each season. What’s the current price of gas? There are also the costs of food to support eight people for as long as two months to consider plus the cost of a professional film crew; we don’t intend to shoot and edit this thing ourselves. Let’s talk about glue. We go through about seventy-five 16 oz. bottles of a specific type of crazy glue called PaleoBond each season. It costs about $40 a bottle. Then there is plaster, tools, tents, survey equipment, and field kitchen gear to think about. Finally, if the dig goes well, a truck to bring back all of those old bones to their new home in Florida.
And what are you going to do with any excess funds?
Let’s think about it this way…the more funding we have, the longer we can stay in the field, the better the quality of video equipment and editing, the better the film.
If there are still funds left over after that…well, I suppose we could have the dig catered…but no, we’ll use any funds that do not go into directly into this project to help us finance additional Museum efforts such as expanding the “Expedition Dinosaur” exhibit, other field expeditions, or to help with “Expedition Ice Age” and “Expedition Conquistador” which we are planning for 2013, the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s first visit to Florida. In the end, with your help, we will build a much needed first class natural history museum here, in southern Florida!
Sounds great but hey, since you’re 501 (c) 3 does that mean that my pledge is tax deductable?
Yes, your pledge may be partially or fully tax deductable! Please check Kickstarter’s FAQ page for details.
Sweet! What else can I get?We’ve thought of some great stuff to send you guys from shirts and mugs, to dino replicas, right on up to an invitation to join us, live and in person, on the dig. Check our pledge rewards on the right. Estimated delivery dates do not include DVD which will not be available until spring 2013.
Please remember, actual participation in Expedition Dinosaur 2012 is limited as specified in the pledge section!
A note on shipping costsYour pledge amount includes the cost of US shipping only. For international shipping, when your reward is ready to ship we will send you a Paypal request and ask you to pay for the shipping according to Fedex
Do you guys have a website or a Facebook page that I can follow?
We have both a website (www.pbmnh.org) and a Facebook page. You can also find additional news about us with a simple Google search.