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Stephany Potze

Fossil Lab Manager, Rancho La Brea

As the Fossil Lab Manager Ms. Potze is responsible for the preparation and conservation of all the fossils at Rancho La Brea. Growing up in South Africa not far from the "Cradle of Humankind", she has always been passionate about the past and what fossils can reveal about these lost worlds. Ms. Potze has a formal paleontological background in managing the fossil preparation laboratory and hominin collection at the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, Pretoria, since 2001. During that time, she was permit holder for two Plio-Pleistocene sites, Bolt's Farm and Haasgat, with annual excavations revealing a wealth of exciting fossils including bovids, pigs, primates and sabertooth cats. Her interest in ancient life has also taken her on other types of excavations from archaeological sites in the Kruger National Park to Jurassic sites containing early dinosaurs in the Free State. She has always been fascinated by the impressive collection of Ice Age animals at La Brea Tar Pits, and in 2016, her desire to master the techniques associated with working on asphaltic fossil material led her half-way across the world to work at this amazing institution. Academically, she has completed a double major in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of South Africa, with research collaborations predominantly focused on Plio-Pleistocene hominin and faunal fossils, including work on fossil preparation techniques. 

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