University of Kansas

The fossil insect collection at University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum (KUSEM) includes historical material collected by Elias H. Sellards in the Paleozoic of Kansas during the early 20th Century, including his and some of Anton Handlirsch’s types of Paleozoic roachoids, as well as early collections by Charles Sternberg of Tertiary insects from Florissant, Colorado and samples of Baltic amber inclusions. Although isolated samples of mostly Paleozoic compression fossils were added from various localities over the years by incidental collectors, the collection was not properly curated and made accessible until 2000 when it became one of the research foci of the Division of Entomology in KU’s Biodiversity Institute. Since 2000 the collection has grown rapidly from this small core to include a diversity of amber inclusions from the Cretaceous (mostly in Burmese amber) and Tertiary (largely Baltic but also including Dominican, Mexican, and an extensive sampling from northwestern India). In addition, compression fossils from Green River, Canyon Ferry, the Wamsutta Formation, the Wellington Formation (Elmo, Kansas and Noble County, Oklahoma), among others have enhanced the importance of these holdings significantly. KU will digitize approximately 6,000 specimens.