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About the Fossil Eggshell Collection

The Karl Hirsh Eggshell Collection represents decades of work on fossil and modern eggshell by University of Colorado Museum of Natural History researcher Karl Hirsh. Karl collected eggshells from all over the world. He spent time in the field, collecting Mesozoic and Cenozoic specimens in North America, Germany, England, Spain and Portugal. He also added to the temporal and taxonomic breadth of the collection by developing numerous collaborations with other researchers interested in fossil eggs, and obtaining donations from zoos, museums, and universities. All of this work resulted in a collection that is unique not only in its size, but in the geologic time and geographic extent represented by the fossil material. Amniote eggshell fossils in this collection date back to the Late Triassic, and have been collected from every continent except Antarctica. Upon Karl’s death in 1996, his fossil and modern eggshell collections, along with his research notes, were donated to the paleontology section of the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History.

In addition to the eggshell fossils, the collection includes specimen photos, locality data, thin sections, thin section photos, SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) negatives, SEM stubs, radiographic images, and geochemical data, as well as Karl's personal research notes and correspondence. The images provided with specimens in the Collection section of this online database come from Karl’s data notebooks, which contain his photographs, measurements, notes, and sketches associated with each specimen he studied.

For more information about the Karl Hirsch Eggshell Collection at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History and amniote eggshell research, see the online exhibit Fossil Eggshell: Fragments from the Past.