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Palaeobiology Collections


Curator: Scott J. Rufolo.

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Anne Botman © Canadian Museum of Nature



Our Vertebrate Fossil Collection contains more than 61 620 specimens, and includes a broad range of fauna from the Devonian to the Pleistocene. The following are well represented in the collection: Cretaceous reptiles, including an impressive dinosaur collection; Neogene mammals; Cretaceous and Devonian fishes. Of particular note are our dinosaurs from the late Cretaceous, especially hadrosaurs and ceratopsians. The museum's Quaternary mammals, collected in northern Canada, constitute the finest and most comprehensive collection of its type.


Our Fossil Plant Collection is a small but important representation of Canadian flora, particularly from the Cretaceous and Neogene (during what was formerly known as the Tertiary).

Richard Day © Canadian Museum of Nature


A fossilized fungal spore (Ctenosporites sp.), seen through a microscope. The specimen measures 35 × 35 microns.


The Fossil Fungi Collection of 1100 specimens is primarily a reference collection of spores mounted on slides.


Our Fossil Pollen Collection consists of 72 070 fossil pollen and spore specimens and modern reference specimens in about 14 570 lots. It is the finest collection of its kind in Canada.


Curation of a collection of specimens whose sizes range from so small they require a scanning electron microscope to view, to so large and heavy they require industrial racking for storage and forklifts to move, can be a challenge. The museum's palaeobiology collections are stored in environmentally controlled rooms, in either metal cabinets or on racks. A variety of specialized supports were constructed to suit each and every specimen. All storage material that will be in direct contact with the specimens is tested to ensure it will not degrade or introduce pollutants that could potentially damage the collection. These measures ensure the long-term preservation of the collection.

A variety of mounted beetle specimens in collection trays.

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