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Dec 6, 2012 9:45 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Tucson fossil lab offering internships to UA and PCC students

TUCSON- University of Arizona and Pima Community College students are getting a chance to dive into the world of dinosaurs.

Starting for this spring semester, a Tucson fossil lab called GeoDecor is offering internships to students interested in paleontology. "Every time I go to a museum, I get so excited," says UA Freshman Kaylah Rasmussen. "I'm like a kid in a candy store, just sitting there and staring at the fossils and trying to learn as much as I can about everything."

Rasmussen will be applying for the internship. If she gets it, she'll be working with GeoDecor President Thomas Lindgren.

Lindgren has spent more than three decades collecting fossils. His lab contains about half a million, including the upper jaw of a Tyrannosaurus Rex found in Glendive, Montana, to fossilized fishes and palm fronds.

He turns most of the fossils into art, bought by private collectors. But some are sold to museums. If you've ever been to the Venetian in Las Vegas, you have probably seen "Samson" the giant Tyrannosaurus Rex. Lindgren sold the fossil to the Venetian for more than $6-million.

"These are things that no one has ever seen before for the most part, or don't exist in living forms anymore, they're too old," says UA Sophomore MacKenzie Skodiak, who is also applying for the internship.

Lindgren says most of his fossils are found in the American Southwest. "Montana, South Dakota, Kansas, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah."

Even right here in Arizona, he says there may be dinosaur fossils, near Bisbee and Tombstone.

Now Lindgren wants to share his passion for paleontology with students. He says the internship will give them a hands on experience. They will learn how he prepares fossils so that they can one day be sold to museums or private collectors.

Lindgren hopes to ignite a passion in the students, who he says could possibly work for him one day.

He's looking for about three interns per semester.

PCC students interested in applying should contact the PCC Geology Department at (520) 206-6763.

University of Arizona students interested in applying should contact the UA Geosciences Department (520) 621-6000.

Lindgren says he is also opening up his lab to community volunteers. If you're interested, contact GeoDecor directly by emailing Christine@GeoDecor.com.

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