Vertebrate Fossil Collections
The Florida Museum maintains five separate fossil vertebrate collections. Their specimens derive mainly from the Cenozoic Era (last 65 million years), with more than 80% coming from about 1000 localities in Florida. Other major contributing regions are islands in the Caribbean Basin, Central and South America, and intermontaine basins of Wyoming and Montana. Combined, the collections total about 850,000 specimens, of which more than 560,000 are catalogued and on a searchable computer database. Holotypes number about 245 specimens.
The primary and largest of our collections consists of specimens recovered by Florida Museum of Natural History staff, graduate students, and volunteers and those donated to the museum. This collection is referred to as the UF collection. The other vertebrate fossil collections are the former collection of the Florida Geological Survey, portions of the Timberlane Research Organization collection, and the UF Department of Zoology Fossil Bird Collection (assembled by the late Professor Pierce Brodkorb). Each of these collections is maintained in a separate catalog, under the acronyms UF/FGS, UF/TRO, and UF/PB, respectively. The fifth collection (UF/IGM) is maintained for specimens collected in Colombia by joint expeditions of personnel from the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Geologico-Mineras (Bogota, Colombia), and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Following their preparation, casting, study, and publication, the original fossils will be housed in Bogota and casts will be stored in Gainesville.
The Florida Museum's collections provide the most complete basis available for study of Cenozoic vertebrate life and evolution in the eastern United States and the circum-Caribbean Basin area.
- January 16-May 13, 2016. Volunteer fossil dig near Williston, Florida. More information here.
- March 31-April 3, 2016. Spring 2016 Hummingbird Challenge Fossil Dig at Thomas Farm.
- April 4-8, 2016. Volunteer Fossil Dig at Thomas Farm.
- May 15-17, 2016. Ninth Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Association of Vertebrate Paleontology, to be held at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville.
- October 26-29, 2016. Annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Research News From Our Collections
- ScienceDaily article featuring Jason Bourque: Climate-change clues from turtles of tropical Wyoming.
- Fossils link Caribbean bat extinction to humans, not climate change.
- Megalodon Became Extinct 2.6 Million Years Ago
- Discovery of over 100 new species by FLMNH researchers in 2014 fuels drive to document biodiversity.
- Fossils prove earliest primate ancestors lived in trees.
- Scientists find ancient fossils in Panama.
- Newarticle on finding fossils in Panama.
- Fossil hunting in coal mines.
- Tiny Primate Sported Earliest Fingernails.
Encyclopedia of Fossil Vertebrates of Florida
New additions to the species accounts are the rhino Teleoceras proterum, the vampire bat Desmodus stocki, and the muskrat Neofiber alleni. New additions to the descriptions of fossil sites are Gunn Farm Mine, Ichetucknee River, and Coleman 2A. Let us know if there are any special species or fossil sites you want us to add.
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