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Information Circular 33. Catalog of Paleontological Type Specimens in the Geological Museum, University of Minnesota
Rice, William F. (Minnesota Geological Survey, 1990)

Information Circular 33. Catalog of Paleontological Type Specimens in the Geological Museum, University of Minnesota


Issue Date

Minnesota Geological Survey


This paper contains reference information for 1712 published paleontological primary type specimens housed in the geological/paleontological collection of the Newton Horace Winchell School of Earth Sciences at the University of Minnesota. This outstanding collection contains specimens from Minnesota and throughout the world. The geographic, chronologic, and taxonomic diversity of the collection reflects the diverse paleontological interests of past and present faculty, staff, and students in the earth sciences discipline at the University of Minnesota. The collection started in 1872 when the Minnesota Legislature authorized the University of Minnesota to organize the Geological and Natural History Survey of Minnesota. Section 6 of the enabling legislation for the Survey also authorized the establishment of a museum to house "specimens, skillfully prepared, secured and labeled, of all rocks, soils, ores, coals, fossils, cements, building stones, plants, woods, skins, and skeletons of animals, birds, insects and fishes, and other mineral, vegetable and animal substances and organisms discovered or examined in the course of said surveys" (Winchell, 1889, p. 6). The collections of the museum grew rapidly, and in 1890 the museum was separated into three divisions: geological (including paleontology), zoological, and botanical; all three were housed in Pillsbury Hall on the Minneapolis campus of the University. The zoological and botanical collections were later moved from Pillsbury Hall, but the geological/paleontological collection remains there to this day, providing a valuable source for reference and research. Contributors to the collection have included some of the most prominent paleontologists of their times. From 1872 to 1900, Professor Newton H. Winchell, assisted by Edward O. Ulrich, Charles Schuchert, Wilbur H. Scofield, and others, amassed a large collection of Ordovician fossils from Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Frederick W. Sardeson, as a student, instructor, and professor at the University, collected Ordovician fossils in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin from about 1890 to 1914. Sardeson continued to collect after his departure from the University, and in 1947 the Department of Geology and Mineralogy acquired his large private collection. From the 1920s through the 1940s, Professor Clinton R. Stauffer added thousands of specimens, especially conodonts and scolecodonts from the Ordovician of Minnesota and the Devonian of Minnesota, Ohio, and Ontario. In the late 1940s, Professor William C. Bell and his students collected many important Cambrian trilobites from Minnesota and Wisconsin. For the past forty years Professor Frederick M. Swain has added to the collection countless ostracods from all over the world. Most recently, Professor Robert E. Sloan's work in the western United States has produced numerous Late Cretaceous and Paleocene vertebrates.

Appears in Collection(s)

Other Identifier(s)
issn: 0544-3105

Series/Report Number
Information Circular

Suggested Citation
Rice, William F.. (1990). Information Circular 33. Catalog of Paleontological Type Specimens in the Geological Museum, University of Minnesota. Minnesota Geological Survey. Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,

Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.