Invertebrate Paleontology And Micropaleontology

Invertebrate Paleontology + Micropaleontology Collections

The 3.6 million specimens making up the Invertebrate Fossil and Microfossils Collections are arranged stratigraphically. The fossils are largely marine in origin and include specimens from sites all over the world, but the emphasis is on material from western North America.

Fossils from Washington state include Cambrian trilobites and primitive molluscs, Paleozoic fauna from accreted terrains in the north eastern and north central part of the state, Cretaceous molluscs from the Islands, and a wealth of Cenozoic marine fossils from the coastal regions. The collections also include fossils from investigations into the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, from Europe, Tunisia and Antarctica.

Learn more about the invertebrate fossil and microfossil subcollections cared for and accessible through the Burke Museum in the listings below or search the online database.

Collection Details

Photo: Burke Museum
Invertebrate Fossils

About half of the invertebrate paleontology collections are mollusks (clams, snails, ammonoids and nautiloids) from the Cretaceous and Cenozoic of western North American and Pacific Rim.

In addition to the extensive Charles E. Weaver collection of Mesozoic South American material, there are also significant collections from western Europe. Recently donated material includes:

  • Comprehensive collection of exhibit-quality decapod crabs and shrimps from the Pacific Northwest donated by Ross Berglund
  • Large collections of mollusks from Fiji and Okinawa donated by Emeritus Professor Alan Kohn
  • As yet uncatalogued collection of marine fossils from the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary of Antarctica collected by Peter Ward and his students in 2009 and 2011
Magnified view of assorted foraminifera against a black background. Foraminifera look somewhat like shells, hard, different round-ish shapes, some white and smooth, others orange and brown and looking more rough and porous
Photo: Burke Museum

Highlight: More than two million specimens, approximately 60,000 of them catalogued

The microfossil collection consists primarily of Foraminifera. The bulk of the collection is from the Cenozoic of western North America and form the basis of biostratigraphic zonations along coastal Oregon and Washington. There is a rapidly growing collection of Recent Foraminifera from Puget Sound, from the current environmental research studies.

Learn more on the Burke’s blog about an ongoing project to study what Foraminifera can tell researchers about environmental stressors in the Puget Sound. More information is also available in the Illustrated Guide to Benthic Foraminifera of Puget Sound.


Collections-Related Services

For more information about specimen loans or visiting the collections, see the Services and Policies page.

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