Today is National Fossil Day! Since 2009, the U.S. National Park Service has celebrated National Fossil Day during international Earth Science Week “to highlight the scientific and educational value of paleontology and the importance of preserving fossils for future generations.”
Depending on where you live you may or may not be able to get out and examine fossils easily in the field, but thanks to the Smithsonian Institution and the wonderful online Biodiversity Heritage Library, you and your students can explore a wealth of books and other published materials on paleontology right from the comfort of your little home academy. Many of these materials are quite rare and valuable, and as recently as a few years ago they would have been accessible only to professional researchers in the largest institutions. Here’s an introduction to these online materials from the Smithsonian Libraries:
In celebration of the opening of the David H. Koch Hall of Fossils opening at the National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Libraries has curated an online collection of important and beautiful selections from the Libraries’ Paleobiology literature titled Unearthed! The digitized books are hosted on the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), the world’s largest open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives. As part of this celebration, we have invited renowned scientists and librarians to discuss the collection and identify their favorite books in a series of blog posts that will be released throughout the year. (Check out the more than 400 volumes here!)
Our online volumes are drawn from a much larger collection of monographs and journals curated by Smithsonian Libraries. Smithsonian Libraries’ Vertebrate Paleontology Library holds over 1,800 volumes focusing on physical geography, stratigraphy and systematic paleontology, and paleozoology of chordates and vertebrates of the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Tertiary, and Quaternary periods. The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History holds the Smithsonian’s collection of rare books in anthropology and the natural sciences. Its world-class collection contains approximately 20,000 volumes published before 1840 in fields that include physical and cultural anthropology, Native American linguistics, and archeology; botany; ornithology, mammalogy, herpetology, ichthyology, entomology, and other zoological fields; paleontology; and geology and mineralogy. View the collection now on BHL!
All Smithsonian Libraries make our books available to researchers on site. For the first time, many of these important paleontological works are now gathered digitally in one online collection for anyone with internet access, through our partnership with the Biodiversity Heritage Library. (Smithsonian Libraries)
What natural discoveries have you made in your homeschool — inside the library or out in the field — this Cygnus Term? 😊
❡ Nature notes: This is one of our regular posts on Homeschool Natural History (and Books & Libraries, and Holidays & Anniversaries, and Museums & Monuments). Add your name to our weekly mailing list and get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🐦