CM Vertebrate Paleontology Collection

Latest version published by Carnegie Museums on Dec 8, 2023 Carnegie Museums
Publication date:
8 December 2023
Published by:
Carnegie Museums
CC0 1.0

Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 84,309 records in English (5 MB) - Update frequency: unknown
Metadata as an EML file download in English (9 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (8 KB)


The collection of fossil vertebrates at Carnegie Museum of Natural History is the fourth largest in North America. It currently holds over 100,000 specimens with a worldwide distribution, representing all vertebrate classes from the Silurian to the Pleistocene. This collection was acquired primarily through over a century of field work by section staff and associates as well as acquisitions by the Museum. Fossil collecting began in 1895 with the sponsorship of Mr. Andrew Carnegie, who supported the museum’s numerous early expeditions to the American West that resulted in one of the best dinosaur collections in the world. Carnegie in his retirement further strengthened the collection with the purchase in 1903 of a large collection of Paleozoic-Cenozoic, European fossils from the Baron de Bayet, a private fossil collector from Brussels, Belgium. Strengths of the collection include Mississippian fishes from Bear Gulch, Montana; Pennsylvanian and Permian fishes, amphibians and reptiles from the tri-state region of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia and the southwestern United States; Jurassic dinosaurs, especially sauropods, from Utah (Dinosaur National Monument) and Wyoming; Jurassic fishes and reptiles from Germany and France; Eocene fishes from Monte Bolca, Italy; Eocene mammals, reptiles, and amphibians from central Wyoming and Utah; Miocene mammals from a site now preserved as Agate Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, Nebraska; and Pleistocene vertebrates from the Appalachian region.

Data Records

The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 84,309 records.

1 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.

Occurrence (core)

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is Carnegie Museums. To the extent possible under law, the publisher has waived all rights to these data and has dedicated them to the Public Domain (CC0 1.0). Users may copy, modify, distribute and use the work, including for commercial purposes, without restriction.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 6720aee6-2aad-446d-bb97-ba009d1b5666.  Carnegie Museums publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by U.S. Geological Survey.


Occurrence; Specimen; Occurrence


Amy Henrici
  • Metadata Provider
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
Collection Manager
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
4400 Forbes Avenue
15213–4080 Pittsburgh
+01 (412) 622.1915
Laura Russell
  • Programmer
VertNet Programmer
David Bloom
  • Programmer
VertNet Coordinator
John Wieczorek
  • Programmer
Information Architect
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley​

Geographic Coverage

The collection holds specimens from all continents of the world.

Bounding Coordinates South West [-90, -180], North East [90, 180]

Taxonomic Coverage

Approximately 70% of the collection is cataloged (~80,000 specimens), and it continues to grow through field collection, acquisitions, and donations. The collection includes the following major groups ranked as Class in the database: Agnatha, (30 cataloged specimens), Placodermi (99 cataloged specimens), Chondrichthyes (2,259 cataloged specimens), Acanthodii (190 cataloged specimens), Actinopterygii (4,175 cataloged specimens), Sarcopterygii (2,833 cataloged specimens), Amphibia (2,178 cataloged specimens), Reptilia (3,639 cataloged specimens), Aves (434 cataloged specimens), and Mammalia (63,682 cataloged specimens).

Subphylum Vertebrata

Additional Metadata

Alternative Identifiers 6720aee6-2aad-446d-bb97-ba009d1b5666