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Ever wonder what it’s like to dig up dinosaurs, what is it really like to be on an expedition? Read more

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Ever wonder what it’s like to dig up dinosaurs, what is it really like to be on an expedition?

About this project

Expedition Dinosaur 2012

Ever wonder what it’s like to dig up dinosaurs, what is it really like to be on an expedition?

The 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 prices.


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.

 
 

FAQ

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Rewards

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more
    About $5 USD

    1 backer

    The Joseph Leidy Award. Leidy excavated and named the first American dinosaurs. We thank him and we thank you!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more
    About $10 USD

    1 backer

    The John Bell Hatcher Award. Hatcher named Diplodocus carnegii after his patron Andrew Carnegie. We will name you as our patron in the credits of the film. We will also send you a cool “thank you” postcard and add your name to the list for text or email updates of the on-going expedition.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more
    About $25 USD

    3 backers

    The George Gaylord Simpson Award. Simpson was perhaps the most influential paleontologist of the 20th century particularly with regard to our modern theory of evolution. We thank you for your pledge; it proves that you are much evolved. Everyone who pledges this amount gets an Expedition Dinosaur or Museum mug and access to a digital download of the film. Includes, mention in film credits and text or email updates.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more
    About $50 USD

    0 backers

    The Edwin H. Colbert Award. Colbert will always be remembered for his discovery of Coelophysis and the bonebeds of Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. We will remember you for your kind contribution and send you a DVD of the film, and an autographed picture of the team to help you remember us. Includes mug, credits, downloads, and updates.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more
    About $100 USD

    0 backers

    The Barnum Brown Award. Barnum Brown made one of the most fantastic dinosaur discoveries of all time… T. rex! As a thank you for your fantastic pledge we think it only appropriate that we send you… a T shirt! Several designs are available featuring either the Expedition Dinosaur or The Palm Beach Museum of Natural History logo. Plus DVD, mug, mention in credits, and access to downloads and updates.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more
    About $250 USD

    0 backers

    The Charles H. Sternberg Award. Sternberg and his three sons all made major discoveries in paleontology including the famous “mummified” duck-billed dinosaur and the “fish-within-a-fish” Xiphactinus. In his old age he reflected upon his career: “My own body will crumble in dust, my soul return to the God who gave it, but the works of His hands, those animals of other days, will give joy and pleasure to generations yet unborn.” Thank you for helping us to bring joy and pleasure to generations yet to come. We will be sending you a personal letter of appreciation and a 4’ x 1’ Expedition Dinosaur poster autographed by artist and Curator Robert A. Depalma. Includes all $100 level awards.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more
    About $500 USD

    0 backers

    The Sam Williston Award. Williston was a medical doctor, entomologist, and educator long associated with Marsh at Yale University. He was later a professor of anatomy and geology at the University of Kansas. Williston was also a paleontologist and counts both Allosaurus and Diplodocus among his discoveries! He developed the theory that birds developed flight by running on the ground rather than leaping from tree to tree. We thank you for your leap-of-faith in us. Pledges at this level will receive a mounted replica of an Allosaurus claw. Includes all $250 level awards.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more
    About $1,000 USD

    0 backers

    The Henry Fairfield Osborn Award. Less prominent as a paleontologist Osborn, as President of the American Museum of Natural History was a driving force behind making it one of the premier dinosaur museums in the world. He conducted field work in both the US and Mongolia and named many dinosaur species. Pledges at this level will receive a replica dinosaur (Psittacosaurus Osborn 1923) in matrix plus all $500 level awards.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more
    About $2,500 USD

    0 backers

    The John Ostrom Award. The man responsible for the modern revolution in the thinking about dinosaurs, his discovery of Deinonychus (aka Velociraptor) demonstrating that they were more like birds than reptiles and triggering “the dinosaur renaissance”. His student, Robert T. Bakker popularized the theory that dinosaurs were warm- blooded with his publication of “The Dinosaur Heresies”. Pledges at this level will receive a replica or a raptor in matrix (3’ long). Includes all $1,000 level awards.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more
    About $5,000 USD

    0 backers

    The Roy Chapman Andrews Award. Known as the “Dragon Hunter” and the model for Indiana Jones, Chapman led four expeditions into the Gobi Desert where he discovered, at Mongolia’s Flaming Cliffs, the first dinosaur eggs ever found. Also discovered were Protoceratops, Oviraptor, and Velociraptor. A standing, full size (1.7’ long) replica skeleton of Archaeoceratops, a recently discovered dinosaur from northern China will be presented, along with our deepest gratitude and the title of Associate Producer for your pledge. Includes T-Shirt, mug, poster, team picture, DVD, downloads and updates.

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    Pledge $10,000
    About $10,000 USD

    0 backers

    The Othniel Charles Marsh Award. Known for the “Bone Wars” he waged with Cope, Marsh discovered dozens of new dinosaurs among them Apatosaurus as well as naming the dinosaur suborders Theropoda and Sauropoda. He is intimately associated with Yale’s Peabody Museum and was a major influence on many of the paleontologists who followed him. Thank you for this most generous pledge! In appreciation we will be naming you a Co-Producer of our film and presenting you with a full-size replica skull of Tara, our Nanotyrannosaurus. Includes T-Shirt, mug, poster, team picture, DVD, downloads and updates.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000
    About $10,000 USD

    0 backers

    The Edward Drinker Cope Award. Our Hero and the other side of the “Bone Wars”. Cope conducted numerous field expeditions, mostly at his own expense (been there done that), and eventually published over 1,400 scientific papers and named over 1,000 fossil species (we’re working on it). Though alone and near destitute at the end of his life, “his contributions helped to define the field of American paleontology.” This pledge also brings the title of Co-Producer and the opportunity to actually join us in the field for real! We will pick you up in Rapid City, SD (you have to get there on your own) and bring you to our dig site where you will be a part of the crew for up to one week. This offer is limited to individuals sixteen years of age and older and you must provide a medical clearance. Welcome to the team!

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Funding period

- (30 days)