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
|Birds||3368437 3368443 3368445 3369610 3370683 3368282 3586817 3582063 3371008 3376580||Ancient Seas||3447834 3388736 3176900 3176914 3445006 3449233 3419853 3390931 3426636 3426639 3424612||Trilobites||3591010 3585803 3588085 3588091 3588093 3588086 3021399 3225472 10092324 10092295 10092327 10092329|
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.