header green line bottom border
project homejoin indiscussionrelated projects

project image
Photo: Paleontological Research Institution
Participation fee $18
Expenses $0
Spend the time outdoors
Location anywhere
Appropriate for kids yes
Teaching materials no

Required Gear:

Matrix is shipped to your organization in one kilogram bags - one kilogram will be enough for about 20-25 participants.

To analyze the matrix, you will need the following gear: newspapers, paper plates, toothpicks, a magnifying glass, and plastic baggies/jars with wide mouths and tight fitting lids. Also helpful are: one or more embroidery hoops with a piece of scrim (or other gauzy curtain material), a clean fine mesh or grease splatter screen, a scale, a low-power microscope, an overhead projector, an old toothbrush, paper towels, coffee filters, and a colander or funnel.

Resources and Step-by-step instructions on how to conduct the analysis will be mailed with your order, and can also be found here:


Mastodon Matrix Project

Help paleontologists study past environments.
Analyze actual samples of fossil matrix mailed to your home.

The Mastodon Matrix Project needs citizen volunteers to analyze actual samples of matrix (the dirt) from a 14,000 year old mastodon excavated in New York! Learn the process of science and work like a paleontologist on real research material!

Volunteers sort through the matrix to find shells, bones, hair, pieces of plants, and rocks from the time when the mastodons lived and roamed the Earth. The matrix and discoveries are then sent back to the Paleontological Research Institution, where they will be cataloged and further analyzed by paleontologists to help scientists form a true picture of the ecology and environment of the late Pleistocene.

Mastodons are extinct relatives of modern elephants. Mastodons were numerous and widespread in North America up until around 10,000 years ago, when they became extinct--with many other species--at the end of the last glacial period.

footer border shadow line