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Fossil Birds Collections

Though the Fossil Bird Collection contains less than 700 specimens it includes some very important fossils. The most significant collection within Fossil Birds consists of specimens collected by FMNH field parties led by Elmer Riggs in the 1920s to South America.  These collections include important birds from the Tertiary & Pleistocene of Argentina, and the Pleistocene of Bolivia.

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Though the Fossil Bird Collection contains less than 700 specimens it includes some very important fossils. The most significant collection within Fossil Birds consists of specimens collected by FMNH field parties led by Elmer Riggs in the 1920s to South America.  These collections include important birds from the Tertiary & Pleistocene of Argentina, and the Pleistocene of Bolivia. Among the highest profile parts of this collection include the phorusracids or "Terror Birds" including the holotype of Andagalornis, a cast of which is on display in Evolving Planet. Another significant strength is our unique, world-class collection of Eocene birds from the Green River Formation, which is the focus of active research by Lance Grande and colleagues at the University of Texas, Austin. Many of the Green River fossil birds, including several holotypes, are on exhibit in Evolving Planet. Other highlights of the Fossil Bird Collection include an interesting zooarchaeological collection from archaeological sites in NE Iraq, a small but significant collection of bird fossils from the Cretaceous of Madagascar, a collection from the tar pits at Rancho La Brea, a variety of moa specimens from New Zealand, and a collection of primitive hesperornithiform birds from the Cretaceous of South Dakota, Manitoba (Canada), and Kansas.

 

 

Go to the Geology Policy Page for information regarding access and other issues related to the Fossil Bird Collection. 

Direct all collections inquires to the Collections Manager of Fossil Vertebrates:

William F. Simpson

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Collections

Charles R. Knight (1874-1953) is recognized as the preeminent artist of prehistoric animals.  Knight was commissioned to create a series of 28 murals for the Field Museum which he began in 1926 and completed in 1931.