Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology

The fossil insect collection in the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) Entomology Department is one of the premier fossil collections in the world, numbering nearly 59,854 specimens and over 3,160 types. The collection began in 1870 with 4,029 Eocene Baltic Amber specimens brought over from Germany by H. Hagen. In 1927, F.M. Carpenter began building the fossil insect collections with the acquisition of 516 specimens from the Jurassic Solnhofen limestone in Germany and 6,527 specimens from the Permian Wellington Formation, Elmo, KS, which resulted in the spectacular, enormous wing fossils ascribed to Proto-Odonata. Also acquired were over 2,057 specimens from Oklahoma and 10,665 Florissant specimens. Other highlights of the collections include: 598 specimens from the Green River Formation; 438 from Malvern, Arkansas; 824 specimens from Miocene deposits in Oeningen, Switzerland; 466 in Dominican Amber (Miocene); 215 from India (the Tasch Collection); 127 from Antarctica; and for the Pleistocene, 85 from Nantucket, Massachusetts and 49 from Scarborough ONT. Professors B.D. Farrell and E.O. Wilson have recently added several hundred beetle and ant amber fossils from the Dominican Republic. Also held in the collection are approximately 500 high-resolution lantern slides of specimens made by Carpenter, many of which were used to illustrate his contributed volume on insects to the Treatise of Paleontology. Although these slides will be digitized with other funding support, they will be integrated into iDigPaleo. The MCZ will digitize ~59,854 specimens.