The Vertebrate Paleontology Collections are known worldwide as a major repository for unique scientific collections from the American Southwest. The collections were first organized under a single roof in 1948 by John A. Wilson, Emeritus Professor of Geology at The University of Texas at Austin. Today, these collections are the principal repository for vertebrate fossils collected from state and federal lands in Texas and contiguous areas.
The fossil vertebrate collections rank among the seven largest in North America. Many of these specimens were collected by faculty, staff, and students from The University of Texas at Austin. Many more were transferred to VPL from affiliated researchers, universities, state, federal and international institutions. The Vertebrate Paleontology Collections have long been recognized as a leader in stewardship of natural heritage collections from around the world.
The Vertebrate Paleontology Collections was first established as the third Texas Geological and Mineralogical Survey, established in 1888 by the Twentieth Legislature. The collections officially moved to the University of Texas in 1909, and have enjoyed continued growth. Notable additions occurred with the foundation of a Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory by Dr. Wilson in 1948. Dr. Wilson combined collections from UT’s geology department, the Bureau of Economic Geology, and the Texas Memorial Museum. Under his leadership, the collections were physically housed under one roof for the first time at UT’s Balcones Research Center (now named the J.J. Pickle Research Campus). Since 1969, the Vertebrate Paleontology Collections has added about one half millions specimens, (roughly 50 tons) of vertebrate fossils from the collections of Texas A&M, Midwestern State University, East Texas State University, Lamar University, Texas A&M Kingsville, several U.S. National Parks, other public lands and many affiliated researchers from around the world. For more than 125 years the Vertebrate Paleontology Collections have provided conservation, care and access to fossils for scientific research and teaching. These collections are the foundation of many published studies on Texas geology and paleontology, and on the evolution of vertebrates.
Recently, the administration of the collections moved to the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas. With this change, we see unprecedented support for the collections, and the freedom to pursue even more ambitions actions that we believe will augment what is already one of the world’s greatest collections of fossil vertebrates.
The Vertebrate Paleontology Collections at The University of Texas maintains modern and fossil osteological collections for research and education.
From the first Texas vertebrate fossils [http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fco65] to the most recent discoveries [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarahsaurus]
Space: we always need more. These are the adventures of the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory. Its ongoing mission: to study strange new bones, to curate new taxa and new specimens, to boldly prepare bones no one has prepared before.
Open to the public: Join us at 7pm on the J.J. Pickle Research Campus to hear Jackson School of Geosciences Ph.D. candidate Joshua Lively talk about marine reptiles...
Open to the public: Join us at 7pm on the J.J. Pickle Research Campus to learn about the early days of paleontological collecting in Texas, where we'll talk about...