Bring fossils to life

Próparators of the Dinoraeum in an interview

Herbert Voss at the fine work on the Stygimoloch spinifer Herbert Voss
Read out

Whether primeval spiny shark, impressive ichthyosaur or tiny ammonites - the preparation of fossils requires a lot of patience and tact. In the studio "Dinoraeum" not only fossils are processed, but also lifelike reconstructions of dinosaurs are made. In an interview, the taxidermist Herbert Voß reports about his work.

GeoUnion:

Which primeval animals do you prepare in your workshop "Dinoraeum" - exclusively dinosaurs?

Voss:

Of course not, dinosaurs represent only a small part of the traditional fossil finds dar. In addition, the range of the preparation is very extensive. Because in addition to fossil dinosaur findings, we also work on remnants of all imaginable fossil surviving life forms. But also their legacies can be our task, such as tracks, excavations, coprolites or even nests with embryos.

We are currently working in the studio on a particularly large European ichthyosaur from the Jurassic period over 140 million years ago. This belongs as a fish dinosaur to the floating lizards and therefore has nothing to do with the land-dinosaurs. At the same time, we prepare a particularly beautiful find of a unicorn shark called Orthacanthus from the Permian period. In addition to smaller commissions from private fossil collectors, we also produce lifelike models based on exact fossil finds, such as the bust of a predatory dinosaur discovered in the Wiehengebirge in 1998.

GeoUnion:

What is the hardest thing about working with fossils? display

Voss:

Time is simply the biggest problem, because to be able to work a fossil after millions of years of embedding really high quality and perfectly from the matrix requires the consideration of some important factors. First, the embedding state, so is the skeleton still connected or is it widely distributed? Second, the intrinsic strength of the bedrock and the fossil, and third, the degree of fusion with the bedrock. Unfortunately, the preparation of a fossil find can hardly be measured by an hourly wage.
Working on the skull of a unicorn shark from the Permian period, total length of the shark about 2.20 meters © Herbert Voss

In addition to full-time taxidermy preparations such as in our dinosaur museum, some private fossil collectors also offer the treatment of fossil finds. But since they can only do their work alongside their actual professional life, there is often time pressure here as well. This of course suffers the quality and many scientifically interesting objects are simply processed wrong and ultimately destroyed. So that our high-quality but unfortunately very time-consuming work remains affordable, we therefore always hope for the support of companies, museums, associations and private individuals. In return, we offer the sponsors the name mention in the exhibition space and advertising space on our website and in the studio.

GeoUnion:

A preparation requires a lot of patience and usually lasts several months what are the most exciting moments for you?

Voss:

Obviously, we're one of the first to bring a long-extinct creature back to the light after millions of years. And that we are responsible for everyone seeing this creature as a model or in the diorama, as it might have looked like in his lifetime.

GeoUnion:

Which of their fossils or reconstructions are you particularly proud of?

Voss:

This is an extremely difficult question for me, because, of course, all finds and reconstructions are real individual pieces and therefore something special. But the participation in the excavation at the "Dinosaur Cemetery" in the Sauerland Balve or the discovery of the first three-toe-step seal of a dinosaur in the Wiehengebirge were real highlights. Added to this is my own collection of dinosaurs, which in some cases even includes finds of skin structures and claw impressions. In addition to these fossil finds, I am particularly proud of the reconstruction of the predator dinosaur discovered in the Wiehengebirge in 1998 for further scientific work. This includes an assembly of the parts found to find their original position and a drawing of the missing parts.

GeoUnion:

Is there a key experience that has made you become a preparer?
The Preparatory Team (from left to right): Daniela Rachul, Herbert Voss, Aranja Brix Dinoraeum

Voss:

Detecting fossils was no problem for me early on. Already at the age of about eight years I realized that I would like to work very close to the real finds of the dinosaurs. Later I heard about the profession of Geo-Pr parators. But the job prospects were not good enough for such training. That's how I first became an industrialist carpenter with a lasting view of the fossil world. But later blows of fate left me more and more striving for this childhood dream. That I am now what I always wanted to be, I owe a lot of good friends to whom I still maintain a good contact.

GeoUnion:

Do you have a tip for the next generation?

Voss:

If you want to become a preparer, you should first of all decide on a particular area of ​​focus (such as biology, geology or medicine) and be particularly involved in this. After all, only about ten pupils are enrolled in the world's only taxidermy school in Bochum. The higher the self-interest, the higher the chances of admission. A secondary school certificate is a prerequisite for admission.

Left:

Dinoraeum - Geoscientific Preparation Agency

Association of German Taxidermy (VDP)

Expert forum for geo-preparation questions

(Herbert Voss - Dinoraeum, Regensburg, 10.04.2007 - AHE)