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Focus: Fossil Invertebrates

Fossil invertebrate animals (animals without backbones) are a wondrously diverse group with a fossil record spanning over 600 million years. Their abundance, diversity, and wide range of adaptations make them an ideal resource for scientists to use in understanding how our planet has changed over time. Paleontologists at the Field Museum and from around the world study fossils in our collection to learn about these extinct animals and how they are related to modern animals. By studying these fossils paleontologists are able to learn  about the history of biodiversity, evolution, extinction events, climate changes, and paleobiogeography.

Specimen PE 13867, Tully Monster from the Mazon Creek Area, Illinois Specimen PE 40223, an insect from the Mazon

Creek Area, Illinois
Specimen PE 32282, a millipede from the Mazon Creek Area, Illinois
Specimen PE 28971, a Cambrian trilobite, Paradoxides davidis, from Newfoundland, Canada. Specimen UC 2783, a Silurian coral,  Coenites reticulata, from Chicago, illinois.
Specimen P 754, a Silurian cephalopod, Dawsonoceras annulatum, from Chicago, Illinois.


Focus: Fossil Invertebrates Collections

Photo Archives - Charles Knight Collection

In the early 1920s, among Knight's great admirers was Dr. George Kunz, the renowned gemologist for Tiffany. Visiting Knight's studio, Kunz was struck by the fact that The Field Museum did not own any of Knight's work. Dr. Kunz worked with Knight's daughter Lucy, to secure a contract to create his biggest commission yet: a series of 28 murals to enclose the Museum's new fossil hall. The murals show the development of life on earth, from its earliest origins through the ages of amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Knight and Lucy traveled to Chicago in 1926 to begin the project.