Cool jobs: Dinosaur Lab Assistant

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Getting down and dirty with prehistoric fossils is all in a day’s work for George Sinapius who assists in the lab at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Winton in Outback Queensland. This self-confessed geek dreamt of working with dinosaurs since he was “a little tacker” and in just under four years he’s gone from digging potatoes to digging for dinos, and even taught the girls a thing or two on reality TV show Beauty and the Geek.

We caught up with George to find out why he reckons he has the Best Job in the World.

What’s a typical day in the life of a Dinosaur Lab Assistant?
My day usually starts with opening up the laboratory ready for another day of discoveries, and checking rosters to see how many participants will be helping us in our dinosaur discoveries. Then oiling tools and checking all the fossils in progress, making sure they all have their birth certificates (paperwork) with them.

On the tours I show everyone how use the tools and what we are training our eyes for to discover fossilised bone (colour and texture). Sometimes I might fix broken tools, or puzzle broken fossils back together. Every day is different and we are always discovering something new for the world to see.

George Sinapius and Kate Durack with the fossilised left pelvic elements of a giant sauropod. (Image source)

What do you love most about your job?
I love working on the real fossils and discovering that Australia has its own species of dinosaurs.

What’s been the most memorable moment since you’ve been there?
So far it has been everything. I cleaned up the right dentary (lower jaw) and a spur claw of Australia’s most complete meat eating dinosaur, Banjo (Australovenator), the first vertebrae (back bone) of Matilda (Diamantinasaurus), and found two bone fragments – about the same size as finger nails – on a dinosaur dig.

Now, we have to bring it up… what was Beauty and the Geek really like?
It was awesome, very different from cleaning up dinosaur fossils. The one thing I’ll never forget is the friendships I made with the other contestants from the show. Occasionally people will recognise me – they always ask “have I seen you before” or “were you on TV”?

Why do you think you have the Best Job in the World?
Because it’s every child’s dream of working on real dinosaur fossils. It’s a dream come true.

What would you be doing if you weren’t working at Australian Age of Dinosaurs?
I’d be picking fruit and vegies up on the Atherton Tablelands and helping out the farmers.

Have you done any dinosaur digging? Share with us in the comments.

Beauty and the Geek images courtesy of Channel 7.

  • Stephanie D