Cell Phones at Field Camp

Even though the basics of finding fossils in the field has not changed much since the dawn of paleontology, today’s paleontologists have a few advantages over their 19th and early 20th century counterparts. Aside from being able to drive over tough terrain and transport large slabs of bones with he...

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Even though the basics of finding fossils in the field has not changed much since the dawn of paleontology, today’s paleontologists have a few advantages over their 19th and early 20th century counterparts. Aside from being able to drive over tough terrain and transport large slabs of bones with heavy machinery, one of the most important tools a paleontologist can have is a cell phone.

The site Mobile Maven recently posted a list of all the ways in which cell phones might be of use while out in the field. You will need some fancier hardware like an iPhone, but top-tier cell phones can be used as GPS units or cameras and can send e-mail in a pinch. An iPhone can’t replace dedicated GPS units or cameras, but when you’re working in the field it doesn’t hurt to have something that can double as a spare.

If you would rather not take your iPhone into the field, though, you can still put some dinosaurs on it. Pangea Software has released a game called Nanosaur 2 for the iPhone in which you play a pterosaur sent from the future to save dinosaur eggs. It sounds like fun, but given that my phone can barely run Tetris, I don’t think I’ll be playing it anytime soon.
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