origin and evolution of life
The 1.3 million fossils in the Indiana University Paleontology Collection are once again part of the
department’s research activity after a seven-year program to reorganize, inventory, and rehouse
them. The Collection is a public trust research repository operated by the department that docu-
ments past research projects and serves as a resource for new synthetic research on stratigraphy,
paleoecology, evolution, and the biotic component of Earth system change.

The IU Paleontology Collection
Following a successful unveiling of the IU Paleontology Collections during
our Open House on April 30, 2016, physical improvements to our collections
space and movement toward 3-D digitization of fossils continued under the curatorial expertise of our former Col-
lections Manager, Gary Motz. Numerous undergraduate and graduate students from several disciplines gained ac-
ademic and managerial experience under Gary’s tutelage. Recently, Gary accepted a position as Chief Information
Officer and Assistant Director for Information Services in the Indiana Geological and Water Survey, and fortunately
we will continue to collaborate with Gary in his new position. We thank Gary heartily for bringing our collections into
the forefront of the 21st century through his continued focus and dedication toward the goal of research access to
fossil specimens.

President McRobbie visited our newly renovated IU Paleontology Collections space in April of 2017, and was hosted
to a viewing and discussion of our research-focused repository of fossil specimens from Indiana and around the
world. Our IU Paleontology Collections were founded in 1903 by IU geologist E.R. Cumings, and now contain more
than 1.3 million fossils that document life on Earth for more than 500 million years. Soon after visiting our Collec-
tions, President McRobbie initiated a Collections Summit during which he shared his remarks about IU’s material
object collections across all campuses, hosted an open discussion
regarding policy issues inclusive of mission, digitization, exhibition,
accession, deaccession and staffing, and welcomed invited par-
ticipants’ responses to develop a collective vision for IU’s material
object collections as part of IU’s Bicentennial activities and cele-
brations. We can gently boast that our IU Paleontology Collections
are ahead of the curve relative to other IU collections holdings, and
we look forward to in-depth participation in this collaborative Bi-
centennial effort.

We in Geobiology mourn the loss of our close colleagues, Professor
Emeritus Donald Hattin and Professor Emeritus Erle G. Kauffman,
both of whom added immeasurable pearls of wisdom to our profes-
sional lives. Stories of field collections and early international trav-
els were conveyed to us with great exuberance, and certainly were
embellished - at least a tad - each time they were told to enhance
color and effect.

Our IU Paleontology Collections were enhanced recently by the addition
of shallow-water coral and mollusc specimens from the Stoter Collection,
formerly in off-site storage but now a central, visible part of the beauty
of our fossils. Students in the G341 Natural History of Coral Reefs course
participated enthusiastically in the unpacking of these treasures.

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Soon after visiting our Collections,
President McRobbie initiated a Collec-
tions Summit during which he shared
his remarks about IU’s material ob-
ject collections across all campuses,
hosted an open discussion regarding
policy issues inclusive of mission, dig-
itization, exhibition, accession, deac-
cession and staffing, and welcomed
invited participants’ responses to de-
velop a collective vision for IU’s mate-
rial object collections as part of IU’s
Bicentennial activities and celebra-
tions. Probing questions about our daily research and teach-
ing activities were always welcome. We now treasure
these “good ol’ days” of interactions and hope we are
developing our own stories, to be passed along to fu-
ture generations with fossil specimens in our Collec-
tions. The N. Gary Lane Paleontology Collection Fund cam-
paign, launched at the inaugural Open House, provides
the financial resources needed to manage, curate, and
preserve the IU Paleontology Collections in perpetuity.

We invite you to contribute to this fund, and to visit our
Collections, either in person, or virtually through access-
ing this website, the Paleocollection Visualization Lab:
https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=4FXijnxaBcJ Collection Personnel
Claudia Johnson
(Faculty Research Curator) phone: 812-855-0646
e-mail: claudia@indiana.edu
David Polly
(Faculty Research Curator) phone: 812-855-7994
e-mail: pdpolly@indiana.edu
Jackson Njau
(Faculty Research Curator) phone: 812-856-3170
email: jknjau@indiana.edu
Collection Location
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Indiana University
1001 E. 10th St. Room GY518
Bloomington, IN 47405
IU Paleontology Collection website: http:/go.iu.edu/1cHc
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