Invertebrate Paleontology is the study of ancient animals without backbones. Most groups of invertebrates and geologic ages are represented in the IMNH collection, including sponges, corals, trilobites, insects, crustaceans, clams, snails, chitons, bryozoans, brachiopods, starfish, sea urchins, sand dollars, and crinoids. We also have collections of trace fossils, including the tracks, trails, borings and burrows of ancient organisms. Invertebrate fossils are the primary evidence for discovering the rich history of life on Earth and provide important clues to understanding the world’s geology
The vast majority of animal species that ever lived are now extinct, and these forms can only be studied as fossils. Their study provides a unique window into the past and allows us to determine how life has responded to climate change throughout time. Our largest collection comprises Late Cretaceous continental and marine mollusks (gastropods and bivalves) of southern Utah, primarily from the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.