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To Preserve & Study Our Natural WondersThe McWane Science Center Collection is made up of nearly a half-million specimens & artifacts related to the natural history of Alabama.

Collections and Research at McWane Science Center

The history of the McWane Collection reaches back to the 1977 opening of the Red Mountain Museum, formerly located on the south side of Birmingham. Employees of this City-owned museum spent nearly two decades leading expeditions across the state, collecting tens of thousands of fossils and geological samples. Today, McWane Science Center serves as the official repository for the extensive Red Mountain Museum collections.

Through continued collecting efforts, the McWane Collection currently stands as the second largest natural history collection in the state. Our collection hosts thousands of natural wonders, including rocks and minerals, preserved biological specimens, and hundreds of thousands of fossils. Learn more about the collection and ongoing scientific research here.

Significant aspects of the McWane Collection include:

  • Hundreds of cataloged Late Cretaceous mosasaurs, dinosaurs, turtles, birds, and marine and flying reptiles
  • Thousands of cataloged Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic chondrichthyans and bony fishes
  • The world’s largest collection of Pennsylvanian vertebrate and invertebrate ichnofossils and plants from Alabama’s famed Union Chapel Mine
  • The state’s largest collection of Late Pleistocene mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and freshwater fishes
  • Collections of Paleogene and Neogene mammals
  • Extensive osteology comparative collection consisting of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes
  • Thousands of Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic invertebrates

Click here to enter the Alabama Biodiversity Database, the home to McWane Science Center’s Paleontological and Biological Collections. Check back often, as new collections are being digitized and added.  xxxx xxxx

Click here to learn more about the type specimens housed in the McWane Collection. xxx xxx xxxx  xxxx  xx xxxx   xxx  xxx  xxxx  xxxx  xxx xxxx xxx xxx xxx xx x xx xxx xx xxx xxx xx xxxx  xxxx xx x xxxxx

Click here to explore various news stories and media items written about the scientific discoveries and specimens within the McWane Collection. xxx xx x xx x xxxxx  xxx xxxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx

Click here for access to the various scientific publications written by McWane staff or about specimens in the McWane Collection. xxx x xxxx xx xxxxx xx x xxxxxx xx x xxxxx xx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxx x xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxxx

Click here to enter the Fossil Fishes of Alabama Portal, McWane’s ongoing project to document the immense fossil record of fishes in the state. Check back often for new taxon profiles and updated versions of prior entries.

Have questions about fossils or the McWane Collection? Click here to contact us. xxxx x x x xxxxxx xxxx xxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx  xxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx xxx xxxx xxxxx

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