About The invertebrate paleontology division researches, develops digital resources on, and trains and educates students to study the world’s invertebrate fossils.  Special emphasis is placed on using these fossils to gain insight into macroevolution, paleoecology, and biogeography.  More than 900,000 specimens are housed in our collections, and a significant component of these are databased and georeferenced.


R. C. Moore fieldwork 1959

The earliest invertebrate paleontology collections date back to the late 1860s as members of the newly established university began amassing fossil collections. These initial collections consisted primarily of upper Paleozoic and Cretaceous invertebrate faunas from Kansas and by the 1930s they were housed in Lindley Hall.

Late 1860s — Collection begins as part of the Department of Geology 

1884 — First paper featuring a KUMIP specimen published

1948 — R.C. Moore begins work on the “Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology”

1960 — First attempt to separate the KUMIP from the Department of Geology

1962 — Richard Benson becomes the first KUMIP curator 

1968 — KUMIP collection becomes an independent unit on campus

1994 — KUMIP collection becomes part of KU Biodiversity Institute 

2006 — General collection moved from Lindley Hall to west campus



Kids at the sandbox

The Division of Invertebrate Paleontology offers several outreach activities annually, including classroom resources for K-12 teachers, curriculum on trilobites for undergraduates and the public, and participation in the annual Midwest Gem and Mineral Show.