Established in 1869, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City houses one of the largest collections of specimens, including numerous microscopic fossils from around the world.
For years, the museum has published catalogs of microscopic fossils, used mainly by scientists employed by the oil industry. These scientists, known as micropaleontologists, utilize microscopes to see what type of fossils are being pulled out of a well and at what frequency.
Such information helps engineers determine if, for example, a well contains gas, oil or neither. By 1994, the largest catalog had reached about 75,000 pages, occupying nearly 80 loose-leaf binders.
* An …