The paleobotanical holdings in theYale Peabody Museum’s Division of Paleobotany are worldwide in scope, and are probably among the oldest and most historically rich in the United States. About 75% of the collection is from North America, with the remainder from South America, China, the West Indies, Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan, Central America, Australia, Antarctica, Europe and the Arctic.
The approximate geological distribution of the collection is 30% Mesozoic, 32% Cenozoic, 33% Paleozoic and 5% Proterozoic. The taxonomic distribution is estimated at 1% cyanobacteria, 5% “algae,” 2% bryophyta, 5% lower vascular plants, 10% progymnosperms, 10% gymnosperms and 67% angiosperms.
Included among the Division’s riches is a substantial body of plant fossils from the opening of the American West, from the Wilkes Expedition of 1838–1842 described by James D. Dana; Triassic and late Cretaceous floras from New York, New Jersey and southern New England; and the world’s largest assemblage of cycadeoids.
The Peabody nucleus has grown rapidly from approximately 30,000 specimens to over 125,000, with 4,200 of these type specimens. This expansion is partly the result of intense field collecting. The largest increase, however, is from the addition of two orphaned fossil plant collections:
These holdings include material that formed the basis of the research of many of the founders of American paleobotany, including Leo Lesquereux, J.S. Newberry, E.W. Berry, W.M. Fontaine, Lester Ward, George R. Wieland and Arthur Hollick.
Holdings in the Division also include the following specialized collections:
The Yale Peabody Museum’s collections are available to legitimate researchers for scholarly use. Loans are issued to responsible individuals at established institutions. Loans and access to the collection can be arranged through the Collections Manager.
Volunteer Opportunities | Support the Peabody