Science & Culture | Invertebrate Paleontology

Explore the Collection

The Division of Invertebrate Paleontology houses one of the largest collections in the Museum. It is currently estimated that there are about 7.5 million specimens in this collection.


The type collection contains all ranks of type specimens, including about 250 holotypes and numerous topotype, paratype, and hypotype specimens. One of the divisional goals is to develop stratigraphic collections of Late Paleozoic and Cretaceous fos sils of the midcontinent. Type specimens have been placed in the collection by University of Nebraska researchers or other researchers who have selected Nebraska as a repository.

The systematic collection is curated according to the higher taxa recognized mostly in the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology. It contains representative fossils of all of the major extinct and extant taxa spanning geologic time from Precambrian through Pleistocene. A large part of this collection is used for teaching purposes in the Department of Geology. Most of the systematic collection was built up before 1960 by Museum staff and it has not grown significantly since.

The stratigraphic collections of Late Paleozoic and Cretaceous invertebrates were built up largely by personnel from the Nebraska Geological Survey, which was responsible for this collection until about 1960 when it transferred to the Museum. The biostratigraphic and paleoecological data within this collection are too important to break up and place within the systematic collections. Type specimens from this collection are transferred to the type collections as they are found.