For more than 100 years the USGS maintained a fossil collection in Denver.  The collection is moving to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.  The move will be completed by June but the NMNH staff will be processing the acquisition through 2020. The collection will be available for study at NMNH once this large task is completed.

The collections are the biostratigraphic standard from which timing of important events in earth history are dated.  The collections are routinely used as the research basis for analyses of geologic mapping age control, climate change, faunal diversity, and extinction events.

Primary collections previously housed in the Denver repository include:

  • Lower Paleozoic trilobites and graptolites
  • Upper Paleozoic brachiopods
  • Upper Cretaceous ammonites and inoceramids
  • Triassic and Jurassic ammonites
  • Cenozoic Non-marine molluscs
  • Mesozoic and Cenozoic vertebrates
  • Paleozoic fusulinids

In addition to the 1.2 million fossils, the collection includes a vast amount of metadata consisting of locality and taxonomic cards, ledgers, supplementary identification reports, field notes and maps. 


Kevin C McKinney

Museum Specialist
Core Research Center
Phone: (303) 236-7561