Image of taxidermied merganser specimen Image of carnivore skull Image of taxidermied skunk specimen gecko



More than 1,900 lots of fish specimens
12 lots of type specimens (holotypes & paratypes)

The majority were collected in Colorado, although there is a worldwide representation of both marine and freshwater species. Many specimens were collected in the early 1900s by Max Ellis, including several hundred from Guyana. Specimen data is available on GBIF.

Amphibians and Reptiles

62,300 specimens 180 type specimens (holotypes & paratypes)

The collection spans worldwide herpetofauna and its strength is the southwestern US and Mexico. The world-renowned herpetologist, Hobart M. Smith, and Professor T. Paul Maslin were the major architects of our largest vertebrate collection. Specimen data is available on HerpNet, VertNet, and GBIF.


More than 14,300 specimens
A few type specimens (holotype & topotype)

Twenty-nine countries are represented in the collection, though most specimens are from Colorado and other western states. Many people have added to the mammal collection over the years, including the pioneer Colorado naturalist, Edward Royal Warren, and Donald Spencer, Dallas A. Sutton, Leslie Viereck, and emeritus professor, David Armstrong. Warren's archive of specimens and his field notes and photographs are an invaluable resource for documenting mammalian distributions and changes in the first three decades of the 20th century. Specimen data is available on MaNIS, VertNet, and GBIF.


~12,000 flat skins, mounts, and skeletons
More than 1,500 lots of egg & nest specimens
A few type specimens (holotype & topotype)

The geographic scope of our bird specimens is global. But as in all of our collections, the emphasis is on Colorado species and on collecting history from the early 1800s to the present. A large number of specimens were donated by the Colorado College Museum in the 1960s. This material includes the collection of pioneer C. E. Aiken of Colorado Springs (of specimens from Colorado and Arizona) and dates back to 1805. Our egg and nest collection contains specimens mainly from Colorado and parts of the Midwest, and features work by Dennis Gale, G. Morrison, et al. from the late 1800s. Specimen data is available on VertNet and GBIF.


~3,100 vertebrate specimens

The scope of the bone collection is global--including 21 countries and 22 US states. Its focus is on mammals, mostly large-bodied Carnivores and Artiodactyls of the Rocky Mountain and Great Plains regions. The collection also includes many other groups of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fishes from North America and Africa. Approximately 20% of the collection consists of specimens collected from the late 19th century to the 1930s.

The osteology collection was developed by Curator Emeritus Judith Harris as a resource for vertebrate paleontology and zooarchaeology professionals. It is used extensively as comparative material for species identification from the Holocene; for tracking evolutionary changes in clades; and for use in both Dr. Jaelyn Eberlye's vertebrate paleontology class and Dr. Christy McCain's mammalogy class.

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