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Adopt-A-Fossil! Become a Guardian of Deep Time Texas

Raised toward our $15,000 Goal
88 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on May 01, at 11:59 PM CDT
Project Owners

Quick update.

November 06, 2015

Well October flew by, and here we are not quite across the finish line! Most of you should have received your rewards by now. There are a couple of levels we're still working on, but to keep it short let me just say learning how to use a 3D scanner is a fun challenge.  

I also would like to let you all know that our sister lab, the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory, has started their own Hornraiser. Head on over to their project page, and help support a unique slice of Texas heritage! 

In the meantime, we'll keep cranking away at those reward levels that still need work!


Corals in western Texas?

April 01, 2015

Today's new fossil is a colonial coral with many interlinked corallites (those star burst shapes). We've shown you the side that has been sliced because the pattern of these is clarified. Researchers studying fossil corals have to be able to look very closely at such structures in order to determine the species. This coral was part of a seafloor community that flourished when there was a seaway extending north from the early Gulf, and at one point that sea, often called the Western Interior Seaway, linked up with a similar southern extending portion of Arctic waters. We are over the 45% mark-Let's celebrate April 1st by pushing over 50%! 
Thank you all for keeping our project so vibrant. 

Adopt-A-Fossil is funded and moving to the next phase.

May 06, 2015

Our HornRaiser project closed on May 1st. At that point your generosity had pushed us well beyond the initial goal of $15K with total contributions of $17,119 from 88 donors. We can now train additional undergraduates and generate a more extensive collection of 3D digital files that will be free for you to download.

What is the next phase this summer? First we will be in touch to check your perk selection and let you know more details about each level. Whatever your level you will receive a beautiful digital adoption certificate containing a small image of your fossil. Then we shall start producing the higher resolution images and writing the associated text. As soon as the scanner arrives we shall be busy training and running test scans. Then on to generate your scans and we'll let you know when you can live watch your 3D  print being produced. 

For those visiting the collections we shall be in touch to arrange a time convenient to you, and are looking forward to having this opportunity to meet you in person. The artist is working on the limited edition print and we'll keep you informed as it progresses.

Thank you all for making this project such a success and for tolerating all the updates with such good humor!

Ann Molineux and the Adopt-A-Fossil Team Adopt-A-Fossil selection page 


What is the red dot on some fossils?

April 03, 2015

A hundred years ago that red dot was used to indicate that the fossil was special, it was new (biologically speaking) and a full description of it was written and published. The fossil was/is a 'type'. These are really important specimens in any collection and we have about 22,000. The number changes because research is ongoing and new material is constantly being added to this special area of the collections.


How to claim your fossil with link update.

April 07, 2015

View all current options for adoption. Tell us the number and you are done! Very simple. Don't forget that we will try to make your personal choice available for you-as long as it is not a vertebrate (no animals with backbones in this project).THANK you for your help and if you adopt during the #UT40for40 (April8/9) your gift is included in the larger UT goal.


We've cracked 50%!

April 08, 2015

Thanks to YOU, we have broken the half way point. Wonderful news. So exciting that we have to share a couple more fossils with you. A really weird sea lily type called a parablastoid with a fabulous name Eurekablastus ninemilensis definitely appropriate. The other is a trigonid bivalve that frequents the walls of many UT buildings! Get out and see if you can find one.

How does the 3D scanner work?

April 08, 2015

In response to this question, here is one example video using the sort of scanner that you are funding, and why we also need support for training students how to use this great tool!

We tend to get super- enthused about fossils and the progress of the project-if YOU-on the other hand feel like you've learned enough-just click the 'unsubscribe' button at the bottom of the update pings and we'll understand.

We are 2/3 of the way there!

April 12, 2015

A huge thanks to all of you who helped to get us this far. We have moved the Adopt-A-Fossil selection page and we've updated all the links, so just a reminder to select your fossils!

Why does my name not appear on the donor wall?

April 15, 2015

If you made an offline donation or a donation via another giving pipeline it takes a little while for those to get entered into the donor wall system. You are counted as a donor and your contribution is included in the current total. You can also select your fossil for virtual adoption following the instructions at the top of the Description.

Because of everyone, on- and offline donors, we have reached 78% of our target!

What a terrific week!

April 17, 2015

Thanks to all of you we have raced up to 94% of target. Someone actually asked me what we would do if we exceeded the target! In that lucky scenario we would be able to train additional students and thus create and share with you more 3D digital files of key specimens.

We've made it, thanks to your fantastic generosity!

April 21, 2015

We have exceeded our goal and now your donations are adding additional hours for student support. More students will be able to learn this new skill and they will be improving our selection of digital 3D files. We shall make those files freely available for non-commercial download.

May we remind you to select your fossil here and follow the instructions on that page so that we know your choice!

April 25, 2015

We have reached this point with your help, now we have 6 days left and if we can add a further $2000 we will be able to train and employ an additional undergraduate for an entire semester! What an incredible chance to get the next stage of the project off to a flying start.

If you have not already selected your fossil please do select your fossil here and follow the instructions on that page so that we know your choice!

Thank you for your donations and your patience throughout our Adopt-A-Fossil project.

We're on a roll!

March 19, 2015

As of this morning we are 6% on our way to our goal--Thank you! 

The final set of images, can they spark energy into the final days of the project?

April 28, 2015

Responding to several requests for brachiopods, we've made them the final collection to be added. These are often called 'lamp shells' because some groups look like an old Roman oil lamp. They have two valves like clams but are not related, and have a different symmetry of shell and completely different internal 'body'. They are very common in the Paleozoic rocks of Texas, but then many groups became extinct. They occasionally occur in the Cretaceous rocks around Austin and a few still exist today.

We hope this final selection will entice you to help us make our extended goal. We only need another $1000, and we have two days to gather those new donors. Spread the word and we'll celebrate May Day in style! [Actually we'll be cleaning the fossils that you have adopted so we can begin creating all your perks!]


Now there are some fossils to adopt!

March 22, 2015

We have the first two possible fossils for adoption today, one is a beautiful sea lily and the other, a rare type fossil. Your level of donation will determine which is your choice. They both have fascinating histories. Only 40 days left to make your choice!

Things are getting really exciting- Thanks to you.

March 25, 2015

This is so exciting we've just gone over 20% of our goal. Absolutely wonderful news. Thank you to all who are joining the adopt-a-fossil project! Your donations to date will let us buy the hardware-(imagine a hige smiley trilobite here!). Now let's get rolling forward for the software and the student support and we will be flying high indeed.

How to choose you fossil.

March 26, 2015

After you have made your donation, go to where you will see an ever increasing range of possible adoptees! Make a choice and let us via email with adoptAFOSSIL in the subject line! OH yes... and that email goes to Also let us know if there is a particular fossil that you think we might have that you would like to adopt, we'll get it up there especially for you!

Thank you for your support and enthusiasm! 

YOU are now Guardians of Deep Time Texas. THANK YOU!

May 01, 2015

We are celebrating May Day! Only 5 hours left in the project and  our extended goal is achieved! It has been a very exciting HornRaiser and we could not have made it so successful without your support. Now we can start fulfilling your perks! We'll try to get you those much sooner than the estimated delivery date of October 2015. We shall be in touch with each of you to verify your fossil choices and to arrange other aspects of your perks.

You can still adopt-a-fossil until 11:59PM tonight! If you already have done so but have not selected your fossil the quickest way is to go directly to

A big thank you from all of us

Ann Molineux


Under your feet?

March 28, 2015

We are almost at 40% funded- this is a magnificent tribute to YOU. 
We've posted a fossil today that you can literally trip over if you live in Central Texas. These are the quirky Exogyra. They range in size from  small paperweights (does anyone still use paper?) to massive doorstops. Check out a slightly younger oyster on our Fossil Roulette tumbr site and savor the experience you'd have for your selection if you adopted at the 'Family' level.
Thank you for your support.


March 30, 2015

Even insects fossilize under the the right conditions. The new fossil for today is a beetle from the famous La Brea tarpits in California.These poor beetles were fooled, plopping into a tar pit thinking it was water, and became immortalized. Researchers in Texas do study specimens from elsewhere so we are providng you with the chance to travel back in time and move out of Texas! 

In response to your comments the VIDEO sound is equalized!

March 30, 2015

A big thanks for your patience! And even more thanks to Reese Geigerman who took our smartphone video and solved the audio problem. We hope that you no longer receive the 'topographic' levels of sound that were on our original mix! 

Why do some fossils in our adoption list look white?

March 31, 2015

These fossils have been coated with a fine dusting of whte ammonium chloride prior to imaging. We do that to enhance the fine details of the fossil. The powder is removed after imaging. For a variety of reasons, this procedure is not always appropriate. In those cases we can achieve a similar effect by inverting a black and white version of the digital image. The new fossil on the page today is an example of a whitened bivalve.

Our way
of Thanking You



Flourish a digital certificate of adoption complete with an image of your fossil. Plus the option to have your name on our social media sites! An adoption certificate is provided for all donation levels.

6 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: October 2015



Now that you are on the hierarchy of the Linnaean system for classifying organisms, you will want to know more about your fossil. Learn more about your adopted fossil with a high resolution digital image and explanatory text.

15 of 1000 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: October 2015



Display a frame ready 8” x 10” glossy print of your adopted fossil. You can create your own collage if you contribute multiple times at this level.

21 of 50 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: October 2015



Your fossil joins our Fossil Roulette page "" complete with context information and the chance to see where your fossil, when it was alive, might have lived in deep time!

10 of 10 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: October 2015



Adopt a type fossil and with it a suite of high resolution digital images details about the collection history. The scientific name of every fossil is usually based on one particular specimen-the type. Type fossils are viewed and studied by researchers from around the world.

5 of 5 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: October 2015



Your digital image will be labelled so you can learn important anatomical features and point out those to your friends. Add to that a hard copy 3D print and you will be able to experience fully the intriguing design of your fossil.

5 of 25 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: October 2015



Join us for lunch and visit the NPL collections at UT. This personal tour will be led by the curator and others with knowledge about the collections. If you are unable to travel we will meet you in the virtual world, via FaceTime or Skype!

3 of 10 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: October 2015



A rare chance to own an original, limited edition print. These are a special donation to us from artist Adam Schreiber- a UT alum. The artwork is based on our fossils- a 21st century ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’.

1 of 3 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: October 2015
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