The Vertebrate Paleontology Department of the Museum of Natural History & Science at Cincinnati Museum Center collects fossil vertebrate remains with special emphasis on Paleozoic and Pleistocene material from the middle Ohio Valley tri-state area (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana). Acknowledging the popular interest in vertebrate fossils and the need for exhibit and comparative materials, however, well-preserved specimens are collected from a broad range of geologic horizons and geographic areas in keeping with the Museum's role as a center of vertebrate paleontological research and education for the region. The collection houses representative specimens and casts of most major groups for research, teaching and exhibit purposes. The Museum collects actively in this subject area, and accepts unrestricted private donations and deposits of orphaned institutional collections. Particularly sought are specimens of high quality that either fill a significant gap in the collections, complement existing research foci, or specimens whose removal from the public domain would represent a serious loss to the scientific community and the general public.

You can search our vertebrate paleontology collections online here.

Meet the Curator
Glenn W. Storrs, Ph.D.

Withrow Farny Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology

Phone: (513) 455-7164
Fax: (513) 287-7095

glenn storrs

I joined Cincinnati Museum Center in 1995 and administer the education, research and collection management efforts and staff of the Museum of Natural History & Science. These include programs at Museum Center, the nearby Geier Collections and Research Center, The Richard and Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve System in Adams County, Ohio, and the Museum's Dinosaur Field School in Red Lodge, Montana. In my curatorial role, I oversee the Museum's fossil vertebrate research program and collections and am an international authority on the anatomy and evolution of fossil reptiles, particularly marine forms such as Sauropterygia.

I was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York, and was educated at Syracuse University, The University of Texas at Austin and Yale University. Before coming to Cincinnati, I was a Research Associate (later Visiting Senior Research Fellow) in the Department of Geology at the University of Bristol, England. I have led or joined numerous paleontological expeditions across North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Ongoing projects close to home include work at significant localities in Ohio and Kentucky.

I have authored many scientific papers, book chapters and popular articles on fossil vertebrates, as well as two books for children. I am an active member of The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, The Paleontological Society, The Geological Curators Group, The Systematics Association, and The Yellowstone - Bighorn Research Association. I was elected Fellow of the Linnean Society of London in 1993 and serve on numerous professional committees. I am a 2005 graduate of the Getty Foundation’s Museum Leadership Institute.

In addition to my role with Museum Center, I serve as adjunct professor of geology at the University of Cincinnati.

  • B.S., Geology & Biology, 1979, Syracuse University
  • M.A., Geological Sciences, 1981, University of Texas at Austin
  • Ph.D., Geology & Geophysics, 1986, Yale University
  • Geology Research Associate, 1991-1995, University of Bristol

History of the Vertebrate Paleontology Collection

The collections were begun under the guidance of prominent Cincinnati physician Daniel Drake and The Western Museum Society in 1818 and continued by members of the Western Academy of Natural Sciences (1835), the Cincinnati Society of Natural History (1870) and the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History (1957). All of these institutions were predecessors and lineal ancestors of Cincinnati Museum Center. The 1998 transfer of the University of Cincinnati paleontology collection (begun in 1907) to the Museum and an intensive program of research-oriented excavations has created the lower Ohio Valley's largest vertebrate fossil collection, numbering approximately 30,000 specimens (over 8,000 of which are currently catalogued on the Museum's KeEMu database server). The university collection includes specimens amassed by the Dry Dredgers Association of Amateur Geologists & Fossil Collectors, the oldest amateur paleontology society in the United States, founded in 1942.

Scope of the Vertebrate Paleontology Collection

The combined collection is particularly strong in local Pleistocene and Holocene fossils, including material from Big Bone Lick, Kentucky, the birthplace of American vertebrate paleontology. A large and important suite of late Wisconsinan specimens from Sheriden Pit, Indian Trail Caverns, Wyandotte County, Ohio, was collected in the early 1990s. Also represented are significant Devonian and Carboniferous holdings, particularly from the Cleveland Shale and Hancock Site, respectively, as well as a broad collection of comparative material from around the world. Growing strengths include collections of Mesozoic marine vertebrates, particularly from the Middle Triassic of Nevada and the Niobrara Cretaceous of Kansas, a juvenile sauropod assemblage from the Morrison Formation Mother’s Day Site of Montana and Morrison microvertebrate material from the Aaron Scott Site, Emery County, Utah. The Ken Caster/Donald Baird cast collection of vertebrate ichnofossils is also notable. Specimens in the Museum's collection are available to qualified individuals for research and educational use by appointment.