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Collections Division

Invertebrate Paleontology

HomoThe Invertebrate Paleontology collection contains nearly one million specimens representing every major invertebrate fossil group and from localities around the world. It is among the most scientifically important collections in North America, containing nearly 2,911 type specimens (591 holotypes, 1 neotype, 3 lectotypes, 76 syntypes, 2,231 paratypes, and 9 paralectotypes) and over 5,000 figured specimens. Additionally, several thousand tertiary types (topotypes, homeotypes, etc.) and casts of type and representative specimens from around the world are present in the collections.

The Invertebrate Paleontology Collection represent the combined efforts of OMNH, University of Oklahoma School of Geology and Geophysics, and Oklahoma Geological Survey paleontologists. The Collection represents the efforts of several prominant paleontologists. More recently, a large donation of megafossils by Amoco Oil Company (now BP-Amoco) transformed the Invertebrate Paleontology Collection into a unique mixture of specimens that represent the results of both basic and applied research.

The collection is housed in a modern, state of the art, facility and stored in mostly new collection cases. The majority of these new cases were purchased with the help of National Science Foundation Grant number DBI-9876782. The Invertebrate Paleontology Collection is segregated into Type and Figured Specimen Collection, Referred Specimen Collection, Thesis and Dissertation Collection, General Stratigraphic Collection, Amsden Collection, Decker Collection, Sutherland Collection, Stitt Collection, and B.P.-Amoco Collection. This segregation allows for ease of storage and the grouping of major individual collections.

A large proportion of the Collection is from localities in Oklahoma, with a majority of the collection represented by Paleozoic specimens. The Amsden Collection includes reference materials from various localities in the Ordovician through Devonian of the United States, Canada, Britain, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. The Amoco Collection include specimens from the lower Paleozoic of the United States, Canada, Japan, and Russia, and Mesozoic and Tertiary specimens from all of North America and parts of Southeast Asia.

Current research in the Division of Invertebrate Paleontology focuses on the systematics, biostratigraphy, paleoecology and macroevolutionary patterns of Cambrian and Ordovician trilobites. Trilobite collections have grown significantly in recent years, with additions of samples from Oklahoma, Texas, the Upper Mississippi Valley, the Great Basin and Wyoming.


Integrated Collections Database

History of the Collection

BP-Amoco Collection

Common Fossils of Oklahoma

Understanding Extinction



Dr. Stephen R. Westrop, Curator

Roger J. Burkhalter, Collection Manager

Lydia Busse, Undergraduate Student

Sandy Dengler, Graduate Student

Jennifer Eoff, Graduate Student

Raina Waskiewicz, Graduate Student

Research Associates

Lisa Amati, Affiliated Research Associate