Alligator olseni is one of the best known extinct crocodilians. These fossils are an intermediate species between primitive and more recent alligators, and hold important clues to understanding alligator evolution.


Ancient Alligator Skull (Alligator olseni)
From Gilchrist Co., Florida
Lived ~18 million years ago


Vertebrate Paleontology


Alligators are quite common in the Florida fossil record. At Thomas Farm, we preserve a large sample of 18-million-year-old alligators that belong to the extinct species Alligator olseni. Researchers have determined that it is an evolutionary intermediate — an ancestor to both the modern American and Chinese alligators.

Richard Hulbert
Collection Manager, Vertebrate Paleontology*
Florida Museum of Natural History


On display Sept. 23, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018, Rare, Beautiful & Fascinating: 100 Years @FloridaMuseum celebrated the Museum’s rich history. Each Museum collection was asked to contribute its most interesting items and share the stories that make them special. Though the physical exhibit is closed, this companion website remains online, providing an opportunity to experience the Florida Museum’s most treasured specimens.

Exhibit Area: Objects Tell Stories

Theme: For the Gator Good!

Cover of the All Things Beautiful bookWant to see more? Explore more than 300 breathtaking color photos of plants, animals, fossils and cultural heritage materials from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s collections in the award-winning book All Things Beautiful available from the University Press of Florida.

*This title was accurate at the time the exhibit was on display in 2017. Please visit the collection website to verify current staff and student information.

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