Research Collection

The Invertebrate Paleontolgy Collection represents one of the oldest systematic invertebrate paleontological collections in North America with over 1 million specimens, including 10,000 type specimens. Strengths of the collection include a number of European collections from many historic localities, post-Cambrian trilobites, Paleozoic through Tertiary cephalopods, and Tertiary mollusks.

The Invertebrate Paleontology Collection is searchable online through MCZbase as well as through iDigBio and GBIF.  

 

 

Category Number of Specimens % of Specimens
Brachiopods 403,000 38.41
Pelecypods 160,000 15.25
Gastropods 76,000 7.24
Cephalopods 66,850 6.37
Paleozoic Stratigraphic 61,450 5.86
Trilobites 46,000 4.38
Kummel Collection 28,000 2.67
Crinoids 27,300 2.60
Paleozoic Antrozoans 23,800 2.27
Echinoids (Recent) 23,700 2.26
Miscellaneous 23,525 2.24
Bryozoans/Chaetetids 22,000 2.10
Gould Collection 22,000 2.10
Echinoids (Fossil) 11,810 1.13
Graptolites 11,250 slabs 1.07
Type Specimens 10,000 0.95
Ophiuroids (Recent) 8,712 0.83
Asteroids (Recent) 7,340 0.70
Misc. Artrropods 7,000 0.67
Post Paleozoic Antrozoans 4,500 0.43
Poriferans 3,450 0.33
Trace Fossils 2,100 0.20
Foraminifera 2,000 samples 0.19
Conularids 1,575 0.15
Scaphopods 1,450 0.14
Solnhofen 1,200 0.11
Burgess Shale 1,100 0.10
Stromatoporids 1,054 0.10
Recent Crinoids 1,000 0.10
Small Conical Shells 815 0.08
Archeocyatrids 800 0.08
Display Echinoderms 630 0.06
Receptaculitids 438 0.04
Hyolitrids 400 0.04
Ophiuroids (Fossil) 170 0.02
Asteroids (Fossil) 135 0.01
Total 1,062,554*

 

 

*Estimate of collection holdings as of 2003.

We now estimate that we have approximately 2 million specimens, including just over 10,000 type and figured specimens.

Type Specimen Holdings

Primary Types  
Holotypes 1308
Paratypes 1677
Syntypes 1062
Lectotypes 116
Paralectotypes 48
Neotypes 6
Figured/Voucher 6699
Secondary Types  
Hypotypes 4325
Figured 429
Mentioned 534
Measured 8
Topotypes 2
Cotypes 3
Plastotypes  
Plastoholotypes 21
Plastoparatypes 3
Plastosyntypes 2
Plastohypotypes 15
Plastotypes 53
The Trenton Group Overview highlights the respective collections of Charles Walcott and Tom Whiteley from the Trenton Falls area of New York, now reposited in the MCZ. This project examines the social history, geology, and paleontology of the area. The geologic setting and the sedimentary geology are addressed in detail, and the paleontology section includes descriptions and photographs of MCZ fossil specimens. The project website was initially created in 2004 and funded by an NSF grant to the MCZ Department of Invertebrate Paleontology.

Databasing of the collection began in 1995 and remains an ongoing project. Approximately 194,000 records, including all type specimens, have been databased. Much of the specimen data was captured from old catalog ledgers, some which date back to the founding of the Museum of Comparative Zoology in 1859.

 

Upgrading taxonomy, specimen and stratigraphic data is a continuing effort. It is an integral part of the databasing process, allowing the most up-to-date specimen data to be captured. Since 2001, the department has worked with various professional paleontologists as consultants for this project. Thus far, information has been updated on the following collections:
  • Nautiloids
  • Paleozoic bivalves
  • Charles Walcott’s Collection from Walcott Rust Quarry in Central New York
  • Fisk Holbrook Day Collection of Silurian Reef material from Wisconsin and Illinois
  • Czech trilobites from the Jan Michal Schary Collection
  • Devonian brachiopods from Germany
  • Permian brachiopods from the Glass Mountains of West Texas