Museum Specialist in Geology

Museum specialist in geology Steve Jabo sitting on a boat with a t-shirt, shorts, and hat on rowing down a muddy river.
Steve helps transport field supplies down the Missouri River in north-central Montana. The team collected hundreds of small vertebrate fossils as part of an ongoing project studying the Judith River Formation (80 - 75 million years old). Photo by Jose Fuentes.

Steve Jabo grew up in rural Pennsylvania where he spent most of his time hiking, fishing, and just being in the great outdoors. He developed a deep respect and love for the natural world. Steve received his bachelor’s degree in Bio-Geology from Penn State in 1984. He worked as a surveyor and permit agent in the field of seismic exploration for oil and gas in the eastern United States, and as a geologist in the investigation of soil and ground water contamination by industrial waste. He started working for the Department of Paleobiology as a fossil cataloguer in 1989 before finally landing in his current position as a vertebrate fossil preparator.

Now Steve plans and conducts expeditions to discover and collect vertebrate fossils and as much associated data as possible from the surrounding rock formations. He then “prepares” them, or extracts them from the rock matrix and makes them available for study, and conserves them for long-term storage. He also molds and casts them, and occasionally mounts them for exhibit. Steve also helps maintain the wellbeing and database tracking of the fossil terrestrial mammal collections. He has published papers on volunteer preparator training and vertebrate conservation techniques, and given many talks on preparation and training methods. Steve has been fortunate to be able to collect fossils in Wyoming, Montana, New York, New Mexico, and Texas, and all over the world including Slovakia and Kazakhstan.