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The Science Museum of Minnesota paleontology collection is notable for its broad taxonomic and geologic extent, as well as its application to and inclusion in exhibits and educational programs. Collections range in size from pollen spores and microfossils to some of the best-preserved dinosaur fossils ever discovered. The entire range of earth history is recorded in the collection, including the local Precambrian rocks and Paleozoic invertebrate fauna, a first-class suite of Mesozoic dinosaurs, plesiosaurs, pterosaurs, and synapsids, as well as wonderful collections of early Tertiary fishes, turtles, crocodiles, mammals, and birds and Minnesota's own Pleistocene megafauna. The collection continues to grow, as Science Museum paleontologists recover fossils in their field areas.
Curators Arthur Coggeshal and Louis Powell established paleontological collections early in the history of the Science Museum of Minnesota. Bruce Erickson established the modern paleontology program at the Science Museum in 1959, and his active field and lab research programs significantly added to the collection of vertebrate fossils. More recent efforts by the SMM staff have concentrated on collecting Mesozoic and Cenozoic amniotes. Collection facilities have been completely renovated since 1999 through grants from the National Science Foundation. Most specimens are housed in secure metal cabinets on user-friendly compactors. Plans are currently underway to computerize the collections database.
Highlights of the Fossil Collection
Access to the Collection
The fossil collections at the Science Museum of Minnesota are accessible to qualified scientists who wish to use the collections for research. Please contact curatorial staff prior to your visit at .