Fossil Amphibians, Reptiles, and Birds
With its first dinosaur fossil collected in 1897, the AMNH fossil amphibian, reptile, and bird collections (FARB) quickly became, and still remains, the largest such collection in the world, currently housing over 30,000 catalogued specimens including many type specimens. The AMNH has the world's largest collection of dinosaurs, with a focus on North American and Asian taxa. Important specimens, obtained by collectors such as Edward Drinker Cope and Charles Sternberg many years before the Museum organized its own expeditions, were acquired early on in the department's history; Sternberg continued to provide superb specimens through into the 1930s, many of which are currently on display. In the 1920's and 1930's, The Museum's Central Asiatic Expeditions, led by Roy Chapman Andrews, added significant Mongolian material to the collections. Roland T. Bird carried out collecting for Barnum Brown at a number of North American sites well into the 1940s. The famous early dinosaur quarry at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, was extensively collected in the late 1940s by Edwin Colbert; this material continues to provide new taxa of Late Triassic reptiles. FARB also houses representative collections of early synapsids from South Africa collected by Robert Broom and Permian vertebrates from Texas collected by Cope, as well as noteworthy Carboniferous tetrapods from Linton, Ohio.
Current research in the collections, under the direction of curators Mark Norell and Gene Gaffney, concentrates on the evolution of archosaurs and turtles respectively, drawing on material from Mongolia, China, S.E. Asia, and North Africa.