Invertebrate Paleontology Collections


The invertebrate paleontology collection is ranked among the top 10 largest fossil invertebrate collections in the country and has over 900,000 fossil invertebrate and microfossil specimens from all over the world, including more than 6,000 type specimens. These specimens have been used in paleontological research for over 125 years. 

The collection has taxonomic strengths in Cambrian trilobites; Upper Paleozoic invertebrates of the mid-continent; Cambrian soft-bodied faunas from western North America; brachiopods; echinoderms; and Cretaceous mollusks from the mid-continent. Research access to the collections is arranged on a case-by-case basis. Please contact for additional details.


Collections Policies

KUMIP specimens are available for scientific study to researchers visiting the collection and via loans to accredited institutions around the world. Students wishing to borrow material must do so through their graduate advisor. Approval of all loan requests is at the discretion of the Curator.

Requests for loans must be in writing from an official staff member of the institution where the specimens will be stored and should be addressed to the Curator or Collection Manager.

Collections Foci

The Collection contains more than 11,000 type specimens and is especially strong in Cambrian invertebrates from Antarctica and the Great Basin, Carbonifereous and Permian invertebrates from the mid-continent, and Cretaceous invertebrates from the Western Interior Seaway.  The Collection has been built by faculty and staff and via donations from professionals at other academic institutions and amateur paleontologists. Regarding donations: our holdings in Cretaceous invertebrates have been augmented by the generosity of Don Hattin and Bob Scott; vast numbers of Cambrian trilobites and soft-bodied fossils have been provided by the Gunther family, Phil Reese, and Paul Jamison; and our Carboniferous and Permian collections have been substantially improved by major and significant contributions from Ron West.

Digital Atlas of Ancient Life

The Digital Atlas of Ancient Life is an online "field guide" to invertebrate fossils, and the key outreach component of our NSF-Advancing the Digitization of Biological Collections PALEONICHES grant. The digital atlas provides images, occurrence maps and information about the geology and paleontology of more than 1,000 fossil species. The PALEONICHES focused on fossils from three time periods and regions: the Pennsylvanian of the American Midcontinent; the Ordovician of the Cincinnati region; and the Neogene of the southeastern United States.