View the Vertebrate Paleontology Collections | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

Vertebrate Paleontology is the study of fossil fishes, sharks, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals — animals with internal skeletons including a backbone composed of a series of vertebrae.
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Current Research at Rancho La Brea

Research has been conducted at Rancho La Brea since the early 1900s and continues to this day. Learn more >

 

Vertebrate Paleontology Collections

We have over 150,000 catalogued specimens of fossil vertebrates, ranging in size from the tiny teeth of fish, bats, shrews, and rodents, to large whales. Our collections are primarily from California, the southwestern portion of the United States, and the northwestern portion of Mexico. They include representatives of every class of fossil vertebrates, but fossil mammals from the Cenozoic (the last 65 million years) form the bulk of the collections. Because of the extensive exposures of marine rocks in Southern California, our collections also include large and diverse holdings of fishes, sharks, whales, pinnipeds, and other marine vertebrates. Opened in 2010, our new Age of Mammals hall exhibits many of our most complete fossil mammal skeletons.

Explore our collections by clicking on this Collections Search Form.