Paleonet: Fossil collection arrangement

Michael Knappertsbusch michael.knappertsbusch at
Thu Mar 19 08:31:29 GMT 2020

Hi all

Not only nested sorting by geographic location, stratigraphic age, and fossil group/taxonomy - in our Museum we have micropaleo collections arranged by (first) authors of publications - just like in a library. For example foraminiferal type collections are arranged like this.

This is a very efficient way if one wishes to find material quickly for all sorts of research questions.

Michael Knappertsbusch

PD Dr. Michael Knappertsbusch
Curator for micropaleontology
Natural History Museum Basel
West-European Micropaleontological Reference Center for the DSDP/ODP/IODP
Augustinergasse 2

Tel. +41-61-266 55 64
Fax. +41-61-266 55 46

Email: michael.knappertsbusch at
Homepage Museum:

Von: Paleonet < at> im Auftrag von Peter Roopnarine <proopnarine at>
Gesendet: Mittwoch, 18. März 2020 23:13:43
An: PaleoNet
Betreff: Re: Paleonet: Fossil collection arrangement

Jere beat me to it. Yes, I think that the answer to this question depends very much on the purpose of the collection. Our teaching collection is arranged systematically, but our research collections are organized in a nested fashion, beginning with stratigraphy, and progressing to locality and finally systematics.


Dr. Peter D. Roopnarine, Curator of Geology
Department of Invertebrate Zoology & Geology
Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability
California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA 94118

Phone: (415) 379-5271
FAX: (415) 379-5732
Twitter: @peterroopnarine
"If I could explain it to the average person, I wouldn't have been worth the Nobel Prize", R. Feynman

On Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 2:53 PM Jere H. Lipps <jlipps at<mailto:jlipps at>> wrote:
We clearly need specialized collections for teaching, outreach, display, and probably 100 other reasons.  But a general museum collection being held for posterity is best by locality, as those smaller collections change and new research requires finding specific material.  Think about general use by all sorts of people.  The real common denominator is locality.


Jere H. Lipps
jlipps at<mailto:jlipps at>

On Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 12:53 PM Dr. Antonino Briguglio <anbriguglio at<mailto:anbriguglio at>> wrote:

Hi all,

I have just finished a major revision of our teaching collection with over 3500 entries.

I followed the systematics starting from parazoans, then cnidarians, lophophorata, molluscs, arthropods, echinoids, hemichordates, chordates and then plants. algae and microfossils are in a separate collection.

within each one of these taxa, I used the most convenient higher ranking to subdivide the specimens. as example in trilobites I used the orders (redlichiida, phacopida, etc....), in bivalves the family (Strombidae, Turritellidae, ...). within each order I just organized the genera randomly within each drawer. if multiple specimens from one genus or species (like iconic Spirifer, or Goniaties, or Gryphaea), then of course all together. but for teaching having one drawer with only "agnostida" is a great things. if one taxon is then reassigned is very easy to move it.

I would avoid by Author, by species or any other sorting as I will immediately have all mixed together.

We also had a stratigraphic collection with all sort of fossils mixed up and sorted by stage. I completely erased it by merging almost all in the systematic collection. I maintained only those taxa which are stratigrahically important in the region here.

I hope it helps, if not then delete ahahaha



On 18-Mar-20 20:28, Howard Gibbins wrote:

I agree with Carrie, organization by genus & then species is the most logical, especially if you are in a teaching setting as the first few years you spend time drilling the system into the students, so logically that is how they should expect to find things.

A good portion of our mammal collection is disorganized by the location specimens were found which is totally incomprehensible to everyone, and means if you want to find samples of a given specimen you could spend hours looking through all the cabinets.

Howard Gibbins BA, BEd
University of Alberta
Laboratory for Vertebrate Palæontology
Biological Sciences Building CW-004
Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G2E9
(780) 492-9366 (Mountain time)

On Wed, 18 Mar 2020 at 13:17, SCHWEITZER, CARRIE <cschweit at<mailto:cschweit at>> wrote:
I am not on Twitter.

I prefer biologically (systematically).

I like organization by genus, personally.  There are benefits to doing it alphabetically by species, because you don't need to know the systematic history.  But then, unrelated things are mixed totgether,

Honestly I hate by Author.

Dr. Carrie E. Schweitzer
Department of Geology
Kent State University
Kent, Ohio 44242
Kent Phone: 330-672-2505
Stark Phone: 330-244-3303
Fax: 330-672-7949
email: cschweit at<mailto:cschweit at>
From: Paleonet < at< at>> on behalf of Adiël Klompmaker <adielklompmaker at<mailto:adielklompmaker at>>
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 11:54 AM
To: paleonet at<mailto:paleonet at> <paleonet at<mailto:paleonet at>>
Subject: Paleonet: Fossil collection arrangement

Hi everyone,

How would you like to have a fossil collection arranged?

Here's a new poll on Twitter:<>

Thanks a lot in advance!

Best wishes,

Dr. Adiel A. Klompmaker
Curator of Paleontology
University of Alabama Museums &
Alabama Museum of Natural History
University of Alabama
313 Mary Harmon Bryant Hall
Box 870340
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487
Phone: 205-348-7425
Email<mailto:aaklompmaker at> | UA Website<> | Twitter<> | Google Scholar<>
Associate Editor, PALAIOS<>
Paleontology Collection: Arctos<> [Alabama Museum - Earth Science]
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