PCI Paleo Report Economics
The time, effort and costs to produce a paleo report depend on the method being used. Accuracy and reliability depend on the discipline, consistency and methods applied to produce a report. The PCI method to produce a standard paleo report is based on an 8 hour work day. During a routine 8 hour day a paleontologist is most likely to spend a total of 6 hours on the microscope given the usual and necessary interruptions and time spent recording data and preparing reports and coordinating. Longer days are usually required to meet demand.
During a regular work day at PCI we strive to complete 33 consecutive samples per day or 1000 feet based on 30 foot sample intervals. Given four weeks of vacation a year a paleontologist has 48 weeks to earn a living. The usual holidays are catch as catch can. With a 6 hour day on the scope and 33 samples to work the PCI method allows an average of 11 minutes per sample or 5.5 samples per hour. This rounds out to 165 samples or 5000 feet per 5 day week.
Within the industry there are some people who average less than 3 minutes per sample. These methods make it possible to turn out over 100 samples per day or 3000 feet per day. Some workers may have super abilities, but experience in supervising over 50 paleontologists indicates that most fast workers quickly examine every other sample or every third or fourth sample and back up to fill in the tops and environments. Another option is to work with smaller sample residues by preparing smaller sample cuttings or splitting washed residues down to a smaller size. Washing smaller samples speeds up preparation and preliminary observations. Such methods can produce some acceptable results around the 80% range. These methods have been referred to as "fast and dirty paleo".
PCI methods require longer hours to accomplish the standards we have in use, but this is why confidence in our work is justified.