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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Department of Paleobiology

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Search Our Collections

Search Our Collections
For the Paleobiology Department and the entire museum.

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National Foramanifera Collections

The Cushman Collection
Also other foraminifera collections, and databases.

The Springer Collection

The Springer Collection
The Springer Echinoderm Collection website.

Archaeocete Whales

Mazon Creek Fossil Flora
Paleontological analysis and photographs of each of the 200 specimens featured on our website

Green River Insects

Green River Formation Insects and Flora
Also slide show of insect specimens.

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Guide to Packing Microfossils

Archival Plaster Jackets
Video instructions for creating storage jackets to support large specimens.

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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.