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Collection Material

The IU Paleontology Collection is an international research resource that houses fossil materials for the purposes of research and teaching. The Collection is available for study by the international scientific community. Our Collection contains more than 1000 nomenclatorial type specimens that are accessible to the scientific community as prescribed by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (2000, Recommendations 72D, 72F) and it contains material collected by permit from Federal lands that are the property of the US Government.


Browse the formation-level inventory of the IU Paleontology Collection


As part of the 2009 NSF funded project, we have made a digital inventory of the entire Collection and are in the process of databasing core type and figured material. An inventory of the bulk of the material is available here. Information is recorded at case-level, giving data on the rock unit, geographic regions, and volume of material. This inventory does not yet include material stored off site, our type and figured material (which is being databased at the specimen level), or some recently acquired holdings. More comprehensive inventories and online databases will be brought online in the coming months.

Acquisition Priorities

  • Ordovician invertebrates: the collection from the Indiana flanks of the Cincinnati Arch accumulated by E.R. Cumings and his group documents the Ordovician-Silurian boundary throughout the southeast corner of the state, including measured sections, detailed stratigraphic samples of all macroinvertebrates, and a large collection of bryozoan thin sections. [Priority-Indiana]
  • Waldron Shale: the collection contains extensive collections of macroinvertebrates from the Waldron Shale (Silurian). [Priority-Indiana]
  • Carboniferous macroinvertebrates, vertebrates and plants: the collection contains extensive collections of all organisms from the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian of the Midwest and other regions, with notable subcollections from the Edwardsville Fm. in Monroe County and Crawfordsville, from the Salem Limestone of southern Indiana, from the St. Louis and Ste. Genevieve Fms. of southern Indiana, and from the Pennsylvanian strata of southwestern Indiana. [Priority-Indiana and Midwest]
  • Conodonts: the conodont collection consists of tens of thousands of specimens, primarily the result of research by Carl Rexroad. [Priority-Indiana]
  • Bivalves: a large collection of Mesozoic bivalves was the core of Erle Kauffman's research career [Priority-North America]
  • Rudist bivalves and corals: Mesozoic rudist bivalves and Mesozoic and Cenozoic corals from the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean have been assembled by Claudia Johnson and students [Priority-Neotropics]
  • Neogene mammals: Quaternary mammals from Indiana have been part of the collection since the time of D.D. Owen and O.P. Hay. The collection includes material from Harrodsburg Fissure, Monroe County. [Priority-Midwest]
  • Paleogene mammals: the collection contains material from the early Wasatchian of the Bighorn Basin collected by Randy Patrick and colleagues [Priority-North America]

Unique segments of the collection

  • Owen Collection: a small group of fossils collected during David Dale Owen's 1846-1848 survey of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.
  • Cumings Collection: extensive collection of the Ordovician boundary of the Indiana sections of the Cincinnati Arch.
  • Galloway Micropaleontology Collection: a large collection of microfossils assembled by J.J. Galloway for teaching micropaleontology and economic geology.
  • Rexroad Conodont Collection: a large collection of conodonts from Indiana and elsewhere in North America assembled by Carl Rexroad.
  • Perry Bryozoan Collection: A large collection of bryozoan macrofossils and thin sections of bryozoans amassed by Thomas G. Perry and students.
  • Lane and Ausich Crinoid Collection: detailed paleoenvironmental collection from the Mississippian Edwardsville Fm. at Monroe Lake and Crawfordsville, Indiana.
  • Kauffman Collection: large, worldwide collection of Mesozoic and Cenozoic mollusks assembled by Erle G. Kauffman.
  • Horowitz and Potter Collection: extensive collection of thin-sections illustrated by the authors in Introductory Petrography of Fossils.