Invertebrate Paleontology Collections

Eurypterid specimen

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 Utah; brachiopods; echinoderms; and Mesozoic cephalopods 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.

Specimen Galleries

The invertebrate paleontology galleries include examples of many type specimens. You’ll find images of Cambrian trilobites from Antarctica, Cambrian trilobites and agnostoids from the Great Basin, Cambrian soft-bodied faunas from Utah, as well as Upper Paleozoic (Carboniferous and Permian) invertebrates from the mid continent, and Cretaceous fossils from the Western Interior Seaway.

Digital Atlas of Life

The Digital Atlas of Ancient Life is an online "field guide" to invertebrate fossils, one component of the Paleoniches project. The guide features images, maps and the geological context for each species. At this time, the project is focused on fossils from three time periods and regions: the Ordovician-aged (485 to 444 million years ago) fossils from the area around Cincinnati; the Neogene-aged (23 to 2.6 million years old) fossils from the southeastern United States; and the Pennsylvanian-aged (323 to 299 million years old) fossils from the American Midcontinent. The latter is based on specimens from the KU invertebrate paleontology collections and is available through the link below.