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Natural Science Collection

The Natural Science collections is home to over 10,000 specimens covering all aspects of the natural world including zoology, botany, geology, and paleontology. Along with many historic specimens, our team actively collects fossils on our annual paleontological expeditions at the Jurassic Mile in Wyoming, ever adding to our understanding of the prehistoric past. Our paleontology collection is further rounded out by our large collection of paleo art, incorporating many pieces from the Lanzendorf collection.

If you are interested in our collections for research purposes, please use the following for visiting, loan and analyses request forms. 

Visitor Arrival and Agreement | Loan Request | Invasive/Destructive Analyses Request | Imaging and Reproductions

Collection Pieces of Importance

  • Two type specimens of dinosaurs. A type specimen is the original specimen from which a description of a new species is made, so they are the first of their kind and used by scientists to compare all other specimens. Thus these are VERY important. Our two type specimens of dinosaurs are:
    • Dracorex hogwartsia- a pachycephalosaurid (bone-head) from South Dakota
    • Prenoceratops pieganensis- a small ceratopsian (horned dinosaur) from Montana
  • Gorgosaurus sp. with multiple injuries including fractures in the fibula, infections in the dentaries and extreme exostosis (bone growth) in the scapula/coracoid (shoulder)
  • Edmontosaurus annectens fossils from the Ruth Mason Quarry, South Dakota of around 1,500 fossils dug up by TCM staff and volunteers as well as families and teachers.
  • Bucky (Tyrannosaurus rex)- sub-adult that was the first T. rex specimen with a confirmed furcula (wishbone) and gastralia (belly ribs) in articulation (how they would look in the body)
  • Infant Hypacrosaurus
  • Cast of Stan the Tyrannosaurus rex
  • Casts of the famous “Baby Louie” (Beibeilong) specimen from China. The specimen features a series of oviraptorosaur eggs with a small embryo preserved.
  • Crawfordsville Crinoids: Crawfordsville, IN is known for its beautiful crinoid fossils, many of which can be seen  on display in museums around the world
  • Eurypterids: nicknamed “sea scorpions”, they are actually more closely related to horseshoe cabs.
  • Lanzendorf Paleo Art collection: includes iconic pieces such as the original concept art for the Sue the Tyrannosaurus exhibit at the Field Museum
  • Martimus the Polar Bear, Ursus maritimus: at over 9 feet (2.8 meters) tall, this is considered a large specimen by today’s standards  due to declining populations of the polar bear’s prey which has led to a decrease in average polar bear body size over the past few decades
  • Large collection of cone snails, Conus sp.:  venomous marine snails, some are considered lethal to humans.
  • Gold Basin Meteorite: thought to have fallen some 20,000 years ago across a large area in Arizona
  • Sugar Pine Cone, Pinus lambertiana: This species produces the largest pinecones on Earth. This specimen is over 12 inches long.
  • Southeast Asian River Dolphin skull cast, Platanista gangetica: A skull cast of an endangered dolphin from freshwater rivers across the Indian subcontinent.
  • Komodo Dragon skull, Varanus komodoensis:  skull of the largest lizard on Earth.
  • Kiwi, Apteryx australis: An insectivorous (insect-eating) flightless bird from New Zealand.
  • Sunset moth, Chrysiridia rhipheus: Arguably the most colorful butterfly on the planet.
  • Northern Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia purpurea: A carnivorous plant native to Indiana. The leaves are modified into pit-fall traps designed to capture and digest their animal prey!