The Department of Paleobiology is home to over 40 million specimens, representing fossil invertebrates, vertebrates, and plants from all over the world. Currently, over 450,000 specimen records are available through this online catalog.
Search the Paleobiology Collections
Keyword searches on summary fields can be run from the Keywords Search tab. Searches can be run against specific fields from the Search by Field tab (recommended for best results). If you don't know what to search for, try one of the three sample searches in the Quick Browse list below.
The online catalog does not include all of the specimens housed in the department. All type collections are available; however, some biologic collections have not been inventoried and are not available yet. There are currently only a small number of specimens with images associated with them, although we are continuously adding specimen records and images to the database. If you spot an error in our data, please let us know.
See the Help tab to learn more about searching and then exploring your returned results (sorting, exporting, etc.).
Quick Browse Searches
|The Last Ice Age||3579968 3427761 3388779 3427766 3579952 3447793 3447759 3447797 3447722 3447777||Selected Dinosaur Specimens||3383668 3440889 3449148 3449152 3451304 3451264 3451233 3448836 3448837 3448828 3440729 3440896||Examples of Excellent Specimen Preservation||3021058 3021362 3583034 3440287 3416659 3422513 3396209 3584271 3577250 3447910 3450096|
Use the By Field search to find specimen data that match values in specific database fields. Enter a value or choose one from the dropdown lists.
Enter your keywords separated by spaces and click Search. Records that match your search terms will be returned.
Note that searching for common (vernacular) names may not yield the expected results. Associating common names with specimen records is a work in progress.
Keyword search example: aves united states images
The results of your searches can be displayed in Grid (a sortable, customizable table) or Gallery View (best for reviewing images). Use the Switch button to cycle between these views.
In Grid View:
In Gallery View:
See Exporting Results for information on downloading results to, for example, Excel.
Open the full collection record by clicking the expansion button () in Grid View, or anywhere within the image frame in Gallery View. Inverse expansion buttons () indicate records with multimedia (typically, images).
Sort results in Grid View by clicking the column header (or by choosing Sort from the column's dropdown menu).
Export all or selected results by clicking the Export Results as CSV button in the bottom toolbar in Grid or Gallery View.
Here are a few search tips:
To create a link to specific records at NMNH provide a querystring for:
where QUERYSTRING is (use a plus-sign to separate case-insensitive terms):
(Specimens of Leiodus calcaratus collected by St. John)
(Paratypes in the family Cyathaspidae collected by the Vogt Expedition)
(Specimens from the Burgess Shale Type Collection, with Site/Station Number 35K and images)
Please use the Feedback page to report problems you find with the data, or with using these search pages.