Paleontology Division

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The Museum of Texas Tech University's Paleontology Division has an expanding collection of fossil vertebrates. The collection of Triassic vertebrates is currently the primary focus of collecting and research by the personnel of the Division. The collection also includes Paleozoic, other Mesozoic, and extensive Cenozoic collections. The collection includes a number of holotype specimens and specimens currently being described to erect new species.

Cenozoic Vertebrates

The Paleontology Division's holdings include two important collections of Cenozoic vertebrates: A Pliocene (Blancan) Fauna from the South Plains of Texas and a collection of Pleistocene cave fossils from Guadalupe Mountains National Park (GMNP). The Blancan collection contains over 500 specimens and the Guadalupe Mountains collection is one of the most extensive collections from the caves of the park. The Guadalupe collection is currently being examined and catalogued by staff from GMNP. The Division's holdings of Cenozoic vertebrates include an excellent reference collection of over 1,500 casts.

Stenomylus, a camel from the Miocene of Nebraska. Diceratherium skull (TTU-P389). Tortoise skull (TTU-P10930). Teeth of the sabre-toothed cat Smilodon (TTU-P250)

Mesozoic Vertebrates

The Paleontology Division's collection of Mesozoic vertebrates is primarily Triassic in age. This vertebrate collection is the cornerstone for research in the division. The Triassic collection has undergone growth of over 600% in the number of catalogued specimens over the past five years and an increase of 30% in the number of taxa represented in the collection. The Triassic collection includes 10 holotypes and a number of new taxa are in the process of being studied and described for publication.

Metoposaurid amphibian skull (TTU-P10530). A phytosaur, Leptosuchus (TTU-P9230). The small skull of Rileymillerus (TTU-P9168). Trilophosaurus jacobsi teeth (TTU-P10405).

Paleozoic Vertebrates

The Paleontology Division's collection of Paleozoic vertebrates is one of its smaller collections; however, it contains some very interesting material ranging from small Permian reptile and amphibian tracks to Dimetrodon (a fin-backed pelycosaur, an early mammal relative) maxillae.  The Paleozoic collection includes beautifully preserved Permian vertebrate material from the fissure fill deposits in Oklahoma.

Permian fissure fill material. Dimetrodon jaw fragment (TTU-P7566). Edaphosaurus boanerges vertebrae (TTU-P7549). Permian footprints from the region.

Antarctic Collections

The Museum of Texas Tech University participated in a number of expeditions to Antarctica. Dr. Alton Wade, who was on the Second and Third Byrd Expeditions in the 1930s, initiated Texas Tech's expeditions to Antarctica in the 1960s while head of the Geology Department. The Museum became involved in 1973 when Dr. Wade established the Antarctic Research Center at the Museum. Wade made a total of five expeditions to Antarctica while at TTU and was accompanied by Dr. Vestal "Pappy" Yeats on three of the trips. After Dr. Wade's death, Dr. Sankar Chatterjee led Museum teams participating in three expeditions to Antarctica (1982, 1983, and 1984). In 1985, Bryan Small led the Museum's last Antarctic expedition team.

The Museum's collection of Antarctic geologic and paleontologic specimens is both important and extensive. The collection includes Cretaceous invertebrates and arthropods, Permian and Triassic plant fossils, Cretaceous vertebrates (including four holotypes), and an extensive collection of minerals and rocks (3,133 catalogued specimens). There is also a collection of early Antarctic expedition memorabilia.

Dr. F. A. Wade, circa 1940. Some of Dr. Wade's Antarctic equipment. Glossopteris leaves from Allan Hills (TTU-ATP60). Biotite rich granite from Mt. Swan (TTU-ATR1020).

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Updated: February, 2014.   Site maintained by the MuseNet Administrator.