The UALVP Collections

The University's collection of fossil vertebrates was begun in 1920 by the Geology Department (now part of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences). Many of the early finds were collected and prepared by famous "dinosaur hunter" George F. Sternberg, hired by Geology Professor John A. Allen. Some of the University's most significant specimens, including several fossil reptiles collected by Sternberg, are exhibited in the Paleontology Museum, Earth Sciences Building.

General view of the Paleontology Museum

Paleocene mammal-like reptile Chronoperates (Fox, Youzwyshyn & Krause 1992, Nature 358:233-235).

An international conference on vertebrate paleontology was held at the University of Alberta in 1963. Following the conference, a vertebrate paleontology program was established jointly by the Geology and Zoology departments. Dr. Richard C. Fox, the first vertebrate paleontologist at the U of A, was hired in 1965. Dr. Peter Forey was hired by the then Department of Zoology in 1970. Forey later took a position in Britain and was replaced by Dr. Mark V. H. Wilson in 1975. Dr. Fox retired in 1999, becoming Professor Emeritus, and Dr. Michael W. Caldwell was hired in 2000.

The UALVP collections of fossil fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals presently include more than 70 holotypes and 44,000 catalogued specimens ranging in age from Ordovician to Quaternary. More than a thousand species are represented.

Follow this link to see a list of type specimens in UALVP collections.

Part of the fossil mammal collection

Fork-tailed thelodont (Wilson & Caldwell 1993,Nature 361:442-444).

The Laboratory for Vertebrate Paleontology contains equipment for chemical, mechanical, and manual preparation of fossils, facilities for specimen storage, X-radiography and photography, space for undergraduate and graduate teaching, study space for students, and modern computer equipment for collections management, graphical, phylogenetic, and statistical analysis, and electronic communication.

Follow this link for more information on other facilities in the Biological Sciences Department.