Research & Collections

Paleontology collection supports new cephalopod exhibit

Specimens in the paleontology collections of The University of Alabama Museums in Mary Harmon Bryant Hall get used for a variety of purposes such as scientific research, exhibits, teaching, and for outreach events. A small portion of the at least 500,000 macrofossils in the collections is currently on display in the Alabama Museum of Natural History in Smith Hall.

A couple of the specimens on display: a nautilus and an ammonite.
A couple of the specimens on display: a nautilus and an ammonite.

Late last year and in the beginning of this year, Kendra Abbott, research outreach coordinator of the Alabama Museum of Natural History, and Adiel Klompmaker, Curator of Paleontology at the Department of Museum Research and Collections, teamed up to work on a new exhibit about fossil Cephalopoda from Alabama. In total, 22 specimens from the paleontology collections were selected as well as a modern octopus from the invertebrate zoology collection and a number of fossil specimens from the Geological Survey of Alabama. Sandy Ebersole from the Geological Survey of Alabama graciously agreed to create associated geological maps of Alabama now hanging adjacent to cabinet. Two students also helped to create the exhibit.

The cabinet highlights in which geological periods fossil cephalopods have been found in Alabama. The walk-through-time ranges from 450 million years ago all the way to the present day. The fossils include remains of ammonites, nautiluses, belemnites, and cuttlefish. The new exhibit can be visited for free on the first floor of Smith Hall so come and check it out.