Important Notice: Hiatus in Research Visits and Outgoing Loan Preparation
The Department of Paleobiology Collections Management team will cease preparing and shipping outgoing specimen loans for nine months beginning November 1, 2013. We will also be unable to host research visitors for a period of one year beginning on the same date. These reductions in service are required by the large amount of collections work involved in the renovations of our permanent exhibits, and may be shortened or extended depending on exhibit needs; we will announce any changes.
The Department of Paleobiology will continue to receive and process loan returns and loan extension requests. Paleo Collections Management will continue to process and ship loan returns of material borrowed from other institution as per loan agreements.
Please send questions to Paleo Collections Management at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Paleo Collections Management staff will be unable to prepare and ship outgoing loans from November 1, 2013 through August 1, 2014.
- Requests for exceptions, including loans to be hand-carried, should be sent to Paleo Dept. Chair, Brian Huber.
- Paleo Collections Management staff will be unable to host research visitors from November 1, 2103 through November 1, 2014.
- Requests for exceptions should be sent to Paleo Dept. Chair, Brian Huber. It may be possible to arrange research visits through individual curators.
- Visitors already scheduled during this time period will remain on our schedule. Please contact your host if you have any questions.
For more information about the renovation of the NMNH fossil exhibits follow our page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/deeptime.smithsonian
Search Our Collections
For the Paleobiology Department and the entire museum.
The Cushman Collection
Also other foraminifera collections, and databases.
The Springer Collection
The Springer Echinoderm Collection website.
Mazon Creek Fossil Flora
Paleontological analysis and photographs of each of the 200 specimens featured on our website
Green River Formation Insects and Flora
Also slide show of insect specimens.
Archival Plaster Jackets
Video instructions for creating storage jackets to support large specimens.
Guide to packing and shipping microfossils
Tips for everyone.
About Our Collections: Our collections contain over 40 million fossil animals (invertebrates and vertebrates), fossil plants, fossil unicellular organisms, and sediment samples. These fossils and samples record the history of life on our planet over the last 2.5 billion years. Please visit our Online Catalog to search our collection database of over 585,000 records. The database contains information about each specimen or sample and a growing number of specimen images.
Included in our collections are over 1,500 cataloged specimens of dinosaurs. Of these, about 30 are on exhibit and 6 are the actual specimens that were used to name new dinosaur species. One of our biggest and most popular projects was the digitizing and remounting of our Triceratops skeleton, a dinosaur that was on display since 1905. It became the world's first anatomically accurate digital dinosaur rendered from fossils.
Other notable collections include the Burgess Shale, the Glass Mountain fauna from the Permian Reef complex in Texas, Green River Formation insects, the Springer Collection of echinoderms, and the Cushman Collection of foraminifera.
Some of our ongoing collections work involves archival conservation projects that help to protect our most valuable specimens, artwork, and documentation. We have several staff members, contract workers, and volunteers working on this endeavor.