Fossil specimen of Phacops rana (Green, 1832).

Invertebrate Paleontology Collections

The collection ranks among the top 10 largest fossil invertebrate collections in the country with over 900,000 fossil invertebrate and microfossil specimens from around the world.

Collection Search

The KU Invertebrate Paleontology collection has been used in research for over 125 years and contains more than 11,000 type specimens. 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 review our collection policies and contact for additional details.  

Collections Foci

The collection 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 avocational 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.

Collection Links


KUMIP specimens are available for scientific study to researchers visiting the collection and via loans to accredited institutions around the world.

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.