Paleontology

The Department of Paleontology houses collections of fossil vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants collected primarily from Mesozoic- through Cenozoic-aged sites in southern California and northern Baja California, Mexico.

Presently the collections include over 108,000 numbered species lots. The specimens have been recovered from a total of 2,890 recorded collecting localities, primarily from southern California and northern Baja California, Mexico. There are 578 primary and 537 secondary types. Search the online Collection Database.

The collection is under the care of Tom Deméré, Ph.D., curator of the Paleontology Department and director of PaleoServices. The curatorship of the Paleontology Department is endowed as the Joshua L. Baily, Jr., Chair of Paleontology.

Read articles about our local finds. 

Services Available

PaleoServices is a consulting arm of the Museum specializing in the collection, salvage, preparation, and curation of paleontological resources (fossils) from development-slated acreage. Services also include paleontological resource assessment of property (residential, commercial, municipal), relevant to environmental impact studies. Contact Dr. Tom Deméré at 619.255.0232. Email: paleo@sdnhm.org.

Volunteer Opportunities

Specimen preparation and other routine collections management tasks are carried out by carefully selected, skilled volunteers. See our Volunteer pages to learn more.

About Paleontology

If you want to learn more about the paleontology and geology of our region, see our Resources page. You'll find a wide range of essays from the geologic history visible in the excavation for our museum expansion, to Dinosaurs of San Diego County, and How to Cast a T. rex.

We would like to thank the San Diego City Council and Council member Todd Gloria for new equipment to enable our paleontologists to uncover hidden treasures of ancient life in San Diego through fossils.