Dr. Samuel A. McLeod
Welcome to the Natural History Museum's vertebrate paleontology department, home of over 150,000 fossil vertebrate specimens, many of which may be seen on display in different halls of the museum.
Vertebrate Paleontology is the study of ancient animals that have a vertebral column: fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Our department has grown from housing the fossils recovered from the asphalt seeps of Rancho La Brea during the early 20th century to include a wide diversity of specimens representing every major group of vertebrates from around the world, ranging in age from the Ordovician to late Pleistocene. Amassed over the years by means of both active excavations and generous donations, our collection is the fifth largest in the nation and a research standard for universities and colleges in the Southern California region.