The Vertebrate Paleontology collection houses the nation’s third-largest collection of cataloged vertebrate fossils, with a total of about 900,000 specimens mainly from the last 65 million years (the Cenozoic Era).* About 75% of the specimens are from about 1,200 localities in Florida. Other major contributing regions are islands in the Caribbean Basin, Central and South America, and intermountain basins of Wyoming and Montana.

Exhibit Objects

Significant Collections

University of Florida Collection

The primary and largest of our collections consists of specimens recovered by Florida Museum of Natural History curators, staff, graduate students and volunteers, and those donated to the Museum.

Florida Geological Survey Collection

Between 1900 and 1955, the Florida Geological Society (FGS) maintained the state’s primary paleontological research collection. As the mission of the FGS changed in the 1970s, it was no longer able to properly maintain this historically and scientifically valuable collection. So, the FGS transferred it to the Florida Museum of Natural History in 1976.

Timberlane Research Organization Collection

This collection, one of the largest private collections of Florida fossils, was the result of 45 years of fieldwork by John Waldrop of Lake Wales and his students throughout Florida. It was donated, complete with handwritten field notes, in 2011.

Brodkorb Fossil Bird Collection

Assembled by Professor Pierce Brodkorb of the University of Florida Department of Biology, this collection consists exclusively of fossil bird bones, mostly from Florida. The collection was donated to the Museum by Prof. Brodkorb’s heirs in 1992.


This is maintained for specimens collected in Colombia by joint expeditions of personnel from the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Geologico-Mineras (Bogota, Colombia), and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Following their preparation, casting, study and publication, the original fossils will be housed in Bogota and casts will be stored in Gainesville.

*Collection numbers were accurate at the time the exhibit was on display in 2017. Please visit the collection website or collection database for updated holdings information.