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2023: Ursina Bachmann

Ursina Bachmann
Image: Schweizerische Paläontologische Gesellschaft

Talented taxidermist as well as discoverer and excavator of scientifically interesting fossils

On the occasion of the 2023 annual meeting in Aix-les-Bains, the Swiss Society of Paleontology awarded Ursina Bachmann the Amanz-Gressly Prize on September 26, 2023 in recognition of her tireless and very successful commitment and co-management of excavations at Frick as well as the excellent preparation of the respective finds.

Describing and identifying fossils and publishing the results are known and recognized stages of scientific work. However, it takes a lot of work to do this: finding, digging up and preparing the fossils. In most cases, the same people are not involved in these steps.

Ursina Bachmann is in demand when working in the quarry and in the preparation workshop. His intuition and talent have contributed greatly to the fact that new remains of previously unknown and very small fossil reptiles have been recognized and recovered from the Frick Clay in recent years. However, these finds sometimes make his life difficult, because their preparation is usually difficult and takes a lot of time. As a trained taxidermist, she overcomes these obstacles without problem, so that in the end not only science but also museums benefit from her work.

Ursina Bachmann doesn't just dig and prepare. She also knows how to prepare and assemble these pieces so that each museum can be proud to present in an exhibition a piece on which she worked. Their attention to detail, which brings the exhibitions closer to visitors, is also appreciated. Ursina Bachmann also knows how to present her ideas and work convincingly, whether behind or in front of the camera or in interviews.

Her participation in the Frick excavations has been very successful, as she has made some "unusual" discoveries in recent years, including remains of very small reptiles, which now await preparation and description. At first there were small bone chips. Recognizing them as something special and continuing to dig with persistence and thoroughness until the essential becomes visible is a special talent.