The museum’s comparative collections fall into two main categories: vertebrates and invertebrates. Both are used to help identify fragmentary remains from paleontology and archaeology sites. Most of the fossils we find are small pieces of skeletons or shells, so it is helpful to compare them to complete pieces of currently living species.

The comparative collection has grown through:

  • Donations from individuals (shell collectors, fishermen, big game hunters, and others)
  • Donations from zoos and other organizations
  • Accidental finds of dead and roadkill animals
  • Purposeful collection of needed species by staff and students

If you wish to donate a specimen to one of our comparative collections, please contact Madonna Moss, Curator of Zooarchaeology, 541-346-6076,; or Edward Davis, Paleontological Collections Manager, 541-346-3461,