About KU Invertebrate Paleontology

KU Invertebrate Paleontology researches, develops digital resources on, and trains and educates students to study the world’s invertebrate fossils.

Special emphasis in the division is placed on invertebrate fossils to gain insight into macroevolution, paleoecology and biogeography.  More than 900,000 specimens are housed in our collections, and a significant component of these are databased and georeferenced. 

Since 2017 division specimens have appeared in more than 30 publications including Nature, Nature Communications, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Paleobiology, Palaeontology, and Zoological Letters. The division, well known for its strong record of specimen digitization, has over 500,000 specimens databased, more than 20,000 localities georeferenced, and over 180,000 photographs, among the highest for the field.

Many highly regarded paleontologists have been associated with the division including R.C. Moore, Norman Newell, Carl Dunbar, Curt Teichert, Bert Rowell, Roger Kaesler, and Dick Robison.


The earliest KU Invertebrate Paleontology collections date back to the late 1860s as members of the newly established university began amassing fossil collections under the Department of Geology. These initial collections consisted primarily of upper Paleozoic and Cretaceous invertebrate faunas from Kansas. By the 1930s they were housed in Lindley Hall. 

Major milestones:

  • 1884  First paper featuring a KUMIP specimen published
  • 1948 R.C. Moore begins work on the “Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology”
  • 1962 Richard Benson becomes the first KUMIP curator 
  • 1968 KUMIP collection becomes an independent unit on campus
  • 1994 KUMIP collection becomes part of KU Biodiversity Institute 
  • 2006 General collection moved from Lindley Hall to west campus