Museum Collections

TheBigDig_PrehistoricOceanDwellers

Paleontology  

Visit OLogy, the Museum's science website for kids, to find free dinosaur games and activities. Learn how to draw what a dinosaur looked like, match eight dinosaur fossil photos with their descriptions, reconstruct and identify a fossil skeleton, and much more!

Carcharodon_PrehistoricOceanDwellers

Carcharodon

Evolution of sharks can be traced back over 400 million years. The most famous extinct shark is Carcharodon megalodon. This animal, which lived in the seas 10 million years ago, easily dwarfed modern white sharks.

Coelacanth_PrehistoricOceanDwellers

Coelacanth

Coelacanths were thought to have disappeared from the fossil record about 70 million years ago, but in 1938 a fisherman caught a living coelacanth off the coast of South Africa. About 200 more specimens have been found in the western Indian Ocean since then.

Dunkleosteus_PrehistoricOceanDwellers

Dunkleosteus

Hans Walters is a Supervisor, Animal Department, and Field Scientist in the  New York Seascape Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society/New York Aquarium.

Stenopterygius quadriscissus_PrehistoricOceanDwellers

Stenopterygius quadriscissus

The Museum's Stenopterygius quadriscissus specimen is world-famous because of the well-preserved outlines of the animal's skeletal structure as well as softer body parts. Stenopterygius quadriscissus evolved a highly modified body for aquatic life.

The Amazing Shapes of Ammonites_PrehistoricOceanDwellers

The Amazing Shapes of Ammonites

When you think of an ammonite, you probably think of a spiral-shelled sea creature. But in fact, this was just one of the many shapes that ammonites took. Museum Curator Neil Landman explains how this array of shapes once confounded evolutionary biologists, and why this variety is actually a good example of how evolution works.

trilobites_PrehistoricOceanDwellers

On View in the Grand Gallery

Specimens on view include a spectacular stibnite, an ancient ammonite, a slice from a jadeite jade boulder, and 15 trilobite fossils. 

Sea Creatures Face the Acid Test_PrehistoricOceanDwellers

Sea Creatures Face the Acid Test

An AMNH scientist looks into the mysterious extinction of ammonites.

Tracking Evolution’s Rate through Trilobites_PrehistoricOceanDwellers

Tracking Evolution’s Rate through Trilobites

Melanie Hopkins is working to unlock the history of the evolution of animals over vast stretches of geologic time and, for her, the key is trilobites—extinct arthropods that lived for almost 300 million years until 250 million years ago when Earth experienced the largest mass extinction in its history.

Return to Milstein Science Series: Prehistoric Ocean Dwellers