Schuchert Brachiopod Collection
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The National Science Foundation Biological Research Collections grant best practices presented at the KE EMu® Users Group Meeting at the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York:

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Downloadable taxonomic trees for importing to your database!

Taxonomic tree – Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, Volume H (1 & 2), 1965 – Download

Taxonomic tree – Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, Volume H (1 through 6), 1997-2007 – Download

View PDFs of these files:

Taxonomic tree – Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, Volume H (1 & 2), 1965 – View

Taxonomic tree – Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, Volume H (1 through 6), 1997-2007 – View



Feel free to download our Brachiopod taxonomy transition chart.
This chart explains the revisions made to the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, Volume H: Brachiopoda. You are welcome to use this PDF or a printout of this PDF for educational purposes. Please email Susan (, if you have additions to this chart that you would like to recommend.

History and Importance | Recent Work | Proposed Work | Collection Use

This collection is one of the Museum’s treasures. The Schuchert Collection of Brachiopods consists of nearly 1,000 drawers of brachiopods collected or acquired by Charles Schuchert and other curators in invertebrate paleontology. The brachiopod collection is the second largest in the nation in volume and in terms of geographic, stratigraphic and taxonomic representation. Approximately 30% of all holdings in the Yale peabody Museum’s Division of Invertebrate Paleontology are phylum Brachiopoda. The Schuchert Collection is especially rich in Early Paleozoic species and contains hundreds of types, genotypes, and many topotypes.


History and Importance

The fossils collected by Schuchert represent his lifelong enthusiasm for paleontology. By 1888, the collection was significant enough to attract the attention of James Hall, State Geologist of New York, who persuaded him to move both himself and his fossils to Albany. The collection grew steadily through 5 years at Albany, 10 years of curatorship in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and finally almost 38 years of professorship at Yale.

Because the material in the Schuchert Collection has been acquired over a period of at least 150 years, a large part of the collection is irreplaceable because of lost localities, inaccessibility due to political upheaval, or the great cost involved in collecting new material. In the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, C.O. Dunbar, R.E. King and P.B. King collected great volumes of silicified fossil material in the Glass Mountains of west Texas. Currently, because of private ownership there is only very limited access to localities in the Glass Mountains. Similarly, old localities in the eastern and midwestern United States have been lost to land development.

The Schuchert Collection contains material from Indonesia (Timor, Wanner 1911), Algeria (A.O.P. Oil Company and R.E. King 1961) and the Salt Range, Pakistan (Ghosh 1932), which have travel bans imposed by the U.S. State Department, and other countries with limited access for political reasons. Many sites represented in the Peabody’s collections — such as the St. Louis, Missouri outlier, areas in the Tennessee Valley, and the Fox Hills (all sites of exceptional preservation) — are now submerged due to the construction of dams.

Schuchert’s acquisitions while at Yale University include the Fred Braun Collection, the Darling K. Greger Collection, and the J.W.D. Marshall Collection. Braun was a dealer who collected fossils in the midwestern United States and traveled Europe purchasing fossil collections in the late 1800s. Portions of Braun’s world-class collection were sold to the Yale Peabody Museum over the years, but it was not until his death that the entire collection was purchased and moved from precarious storage conditions under the Brooklyn Bridge to the Peabody. The Greger Collection, approximately 200 drawers, was purchased by Schuchert in 1924 and is composed mainly of invertebrate fossils from the mid-continent. The collection also benefited from many shrewd exchanges with the National Museum of Natural History and the American Museum of Natural History. The highlight of Schuchert’s large personal collection is material collected with W.H. Twenhofel, C.O. Dunbar, and many other graduate students in the Ordovician and Silurian of Maritime Canada.

Schuchert was president of Geological Society of America and winner of the Penrose Medal (the highest achievement in the society), president of the Paleontological Society, recipient of the Hayden Gold Medal from the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Science, and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1910. He is the author of the original Bibliography of North American Brachiopods.

Recent Work

The Division of Invertebrate Paleontology recently moved the Schuchert Collection of Brachiopods from the Kline Geology Laboratory to our new facilities in The Class of 1954 Environmental Science Center. Concurrent with the move, a brachiopod specialist was hired to reorganize the Schuchert Collection according to the revised brachiopod volumes of the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology (Kaesler, ed., 1997, 2000, 2002). The arrangement of brachiopods in the revised classification will facilitate systematic and phylogenetic studies by providing a better framework for the comparison of specimens. This phase also involved the incorporation of former teaching collections, former exhibits (including the Hall of Invertebrates specimens), and recently acquired and orphaned collections. This material makes a significant contribution to the Schuchert Collection as it represents exhibit quality examples of morphological features and intraspecific variation.

Proposed Work

The Divison’s goal is to facilitate the use of the brachiopods by future researchers and to promote public education. We aim to upgrade this collection to the highest curatorial standards, incorporate valuable collections from the stratigraphic collection, and create an online photographic database with information about brachiopods and the revised brachiopod classification. The Yale Peabody Museum is committed to the growth and improvement of the collections. In the last 3 years a modern collections facility has been built and the Division has welcomed a new curator and collections manager. We are in the ideal position to undertake an extensive project that will enhance our important brachiopod collection and make it more accessible to researchers, students and the public.

Collection Use

Brachiopod researchers are encouraged to visit the brachiopod collections at the Yale Peabody Museum. The collections are housed in the new Class of 1954 Environmental Science Center. The collection area is outfitted with compactorized storage with significant expansion space and is environmentally controlled. There is ample room for working on collections within the Division’s work and fossil preparation rooms.

Most specimens from the Schuchert Collection, including type specimens, are available for loan to institutions. In some cases, a specimen may be deemed to fragile or environmentally sensitive to ship. Requests to borrow Yale Peabody Museum specimens for research or exhibit should be made in writing to the collections manager. Requests should include the following information: the purpose of the loan; a description of the material requested in as much detail as possible; and where, and under whose responsibility, the specimens will be housed while on loan.

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.

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