© 2006 Zackery Zdinak
I've been hunting fossils for some years now, driven by a lifelong love of the outdoors and a kid's passion for the prehistoric. I'm drawn to these bits of rock and bone for their rough beauty and frail evocation of the primeval. Pursuing them in the field also makes a great excuse for getting ground level with nature. It's led me to explore corners of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts,  Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Montana, Colorado, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Ontario and Alberta (so far) that I certainly would've skipped otherwise.

These essays limn my beginnings as an amateur fossil hunter. Initially written for the New York Paleontological Society newsletter, they skew more personal than technical. The subject is less fossils found than the experience of finding them.  While I try to label specimens as accurately as possible, I wouldn't presume to call this a field guide.

I also hope to convey their beauty as objects. The images are of fossils I've collected and the places I found them. Photos taken by others are credited accordingly, the rest are mine. I will continue to add and edit pictures and stories as time goes on. This then is a work in progress, a work in process. I invite you to return and watch it evolve.

Last update: June 25, 2014. I had the privilege of joining the Yale Vertebrate Paleontology Department's field season in NE Arizona. We braved rattlesnakes, black widow spiders and gale force winds camping for four weeks in the Painted Desert of Petrified Forest National Park. There the Chinle Formation is rich in Late Triassic fossils. We jacketed over 200 specimens of phytosaurs, rauisuchians and who knows what else -- only careful examination in the lab will tell. See more of my photos from the trip on the Yale Peabody Museum's Facebook page, in the album "Triassic Tuesdays".

Questions? Comments? Please write me at