Jolanta Kobylinska
Staff: Piotr Gryz

Collecting and preserving paleontological specimens, a part of the natural history heritage of the mankind, is one of the statutory tasks of the Institute of Paleobiology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IP PAS). The paleontological collections of the Institute have been assembled since 1952 in Poland and during expeditions to other countries (Mongolia, Spitsbergen, Antarctica, and others). Their main part is constituted by collections described in publications edited by the Institute. At present the number of such collections is about 800, their size is very variable, from a single specimen to over 10 000 fossils.

IP PAS Collections Visitor Guidelines

These guidelines are in place to protect the collections and the individuals working with them. We expect all visitors to be familiar with these policies. Failure to comply with the guidelines will result in immediate terminating of the visit and may be grounds for denying future requests.

The collections are available for study for bona fide scientists from all over the world unless they are already under study. Since main collection is stored in a warehouse outside the Institute the visiting dates are by appointment only. Researchers intending to visit the collection should contact the Curator as early as possible to confirm the availability of the material that they wish to examine, as well as to allow transport to the main facility. Students must provide a letter from their advisor the first time they visit the collections. Only researchers with appropriate credentials will be allowed access to specimens. Requests to visit the collection should be made by emailing a completed Collections Visitor Application [DOC] to the Curator. Access to collections is limited to the material listed and approved in the Collections Visitor Application.

Dissecting microscope, lights, portable tripod, black velvet, and wi-fi are available in the collections. Visitors must bring any other necessary equipment and accessories with them (including calipers, photography scales, camera, and computer).

Specimens are irreplaceable and must be treated with extreme care. Collections Curator will make the requested material available to the visitors, monitor the condition of specimens as they are used and return specimens to their storage locations. As elements are removed and returned to vials, boxes and trays, it is very important to carefully double check to avoid mixing up specimens or elements. Visitors may not mark, damage, adhere any materials to or alter specimens in any way, even temporarily. Similarly, alteration of the specimen tags or any markings that appear on the specimen is forbidden.
Any protocol that may have a lasting effect on the specimens (such as molding, coating, and preparing specimens) must be approved well in advance of any visit by submitting a Molding/Destructive Sampling Application [
DOC]. Visitors who find any signs of damage to specimens, misplaced elements or misidentifications are asked to bring the issue to the attention of the Curator. Eating and drinking is not allowed in the collections area.

2-D photography of IP PAS specimens is allowed without special permission for research purposes only. Please consult Images Obtain/Reproduce Application [
DOC] for copyright policy, as well as information about requesting new photographs production by IP PAS Photography Department.
3-D photography: surface scanning, photogrammetry, MRI, CT, and all other techniques, which have the potential to generate 3-D data must be requested by submitting 3-D Imaging Application [
A copy of obtained images, as well as, publication in which they appear should be sent to the IP PAS Collections Curator.

Requests to loan any material from the collection should be made by submitting a completed Loan Application [
DOC] to the Curator. Loans are usually due after a year, but they are made solely at the discretion of the IP PAS, and can be terminated or otherwise recalled at any time. Request to prolong the loan must be made in writing.
Standard conditions do not allow any interventive work on the specimens, such as preparation, molding/casting, destructive sampling or 3-D imagining. Such work must not be undertaken without advanced, written permission from IP PAS (see Handling and Imagining sections above).
Loaned material must never be transferred to a third party. It has to be returned personally or via registered mail, appropriate packing is obligatory.
Upon returning of a loan or as soon as it is possible, Researcher has to provide IP PAS a free copy of the publication in which the Material was used or a report with the conclusions for the Material that was not cited.

Credits and copyrights
Institute of Paleobiology PAS wishes to encourage the dissemination and use of information about our Collections. The images of our specimens are made available to researchers under a CC BY-NC license. IP PAS should be given appropriate credit in any publication in which the specimens from the collections appear. We suggest the following attribution: “ZPAL Specimen Catalog Number, Institute of Paleobiology PAS".

If you have any questions about these guidelines or visiting the collections please contact the

A part of the collections is available to the public in the Museum of Evolution.

List of published collections
[HTML file].

Collection cataloguing is in progress. A large part of collections has already been catalogued. We are planning to make available IP PAS Collections Online Database this spring.
Until then the catalogues are available under the following links. Please be aware that:
- the only aim of the distinction between Catalogues 1, 2, ... is to avoid too large files; if looking for a specific taxon, please check all the catalogues;
- identifications are mostly those already made on existing labels; they do not necessarily correspond to the present state of art in palaeontology;
- genera and species are arranged according to a practical Linear Sequence of Classes and Orders
[DOC file]; this should not be taken to represent a scientific system; in some cases other systems of classification have been used as well.

Catalogue 1 - Main collections - Invertebrates
[XLSX file]
Catalogue 2 - Main collections - Vertebrates [XLSX file]
Catalogue 3 - Comparative collections [XLSX file]
Catalogue 4 - Unpublished collections [XLSX file]