Fossil Type Specimens in the Condon Fossil Collection

typespecimen28
Plicatostylus gregarius, Fossil oyster upper valve
1 of 35
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Nemocardium formosum, Fossil cockle shell
2 of 35
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Neverita thomsonae, Fossil moon snail
3 of 35
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Dentalium laneensis, Fossil tusk shell
4 of 35
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Diplomaceras mitchellense, Ammonite partial shell
5 of 35
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Archoplites harneyensis, Fossil perch partial skeleton
6 of 35
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Paleotaricha oligocenica, Fossil newt skeleton, side one
7 of 35
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Paleotaricha oligocenica, Fossil newt skeleton, side two
8 of 35
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Eremochen russelli, Fossil duck humerus
9 of 35
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Teratorn woodburnensi, Giant terror-bird humerus
10 of 35
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Hemipsalodon grandis, Giant Hyena-like animal skull
11 of 35
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Hemipsalodon grandis, Giant Hyena-like animal mandible
12 of 35
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Puma lacustris, Fossil wildcat mandible
13 of 35
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Lynx longignathus, Fossil wildcat mandible, side one
14 of 35
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Lynx longignathus, Fossil wildcat mandible, side two
15 of 35
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Tephrocyon rurestris, Fossil dog skull, top view
16 of 35
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Tephrocyon rurestris, Fossil dog skull, bottom view
17 of 35
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Tephrocyon rurestris, Fossil dog skull, side view
18 of 35
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Eucyon davisi, Fossil dog mandible, side one
19 of 35
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Eucyon davisi, Fossil dog mandible, side two
20 of 35
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Pliotaxidea nevadensis, Fossil badger mandible
21 of 35
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Plionictis oregonensis, Fossil martin mandible, side one
22 of 35
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Plionictis oregonensis, Fossil martin mandible, side two
23 of 35
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Trigonictis idahoensis, Fossil grison mandible
24 of 35
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Sthenictis juncturensis, Fossil weasel mandible
25 of 35
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Lutra ingens, Fossil otter mandible
26 of 35
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Hypolagus oregonensis, Rabbit mandible, side one
27 of 35
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Hypolagus oregonensis, Rabbit mandible, side two
28 of 35
typespecimen08
Protosciurus condoni, Squirrel skull, top view
29 of 35
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Protosciurus condoni, Squirrel skull, bottom view
30 of 35
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Monosaulax typicus, Fossil beaver mandible, side one
31 of 35
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Monosaulax typicus, Fossil beaver mandible, side two
32 of 35
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Monosaulax progressus, Fossil beaver mandible
33 of 35
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Dipoides vallicula, Fossil beaver mandible
34 of 35
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Castor accessor, Beaver mandible
35 of 35

View the entire gallery or click on the above images to enlarge.

The Condon Fossil Collection contains numerous "type specimens," a highly significant category in the field of paleontology. Fossil type specimens are the best examples of a new species at the time it is named. When scientists describe a new species, they designate a single specimen as the "holotype" that best represents the new species. Technically, new scientific names such as Tyrannosaurus rex are attached to this specimen rather than the species. Because scientific names are often published before a full analysis of variation within a fossil species has taken place, a holotype can later be found to be atypical of the species. At the time of first publication, a scientist may also designate "paratype" specimens she or he thinks belong to the same species and illustrate the range of variation known within the new species. Further research may reveal better preserved specimens that provide additional details to our knowledge of an ancient species, but type specimens remain significant for their historical value, the first of their kind, and as crucial resources for subsequent comparative analysis. The type specimens in this gallery have been organized by their evolutionary relationships, progressing up the tree of life from invertebrates (clams, snails, etc.) to vertebrates--from fish to amphibians, then birds and several families of mammals. Photography by Lieke Dircks, text by Edward Davis, and web development by Keith Hamm. Images © UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Production of this gallery was generously supported by The Ford Family Foundation.