Regional collection Caribbean

The collections of Tertiary marine molluscs from tropical America form a unique focal point at the Natural History Museum Basel. With around 750,000 objects, the collections of molluscs and other fossils from Panama, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad, Venezuela and other neighbouring countries are very extensive.

Since the start of the last century, Swiss oil geologists working in the Caribbean have been sending collections to Basel. These objects have been greatly enriched by the collection work by Peter Jung and John Saunders in the Dominican Republic and by the legacy of collections of recent and fossil molluscs from Jack and Winifred Gibson-Smith. The collection of Tertiary molluscs is supplemented by other fossil groups such as corals, crabs, echinoderms and otoliths (tiny bones in the ear) from Latin American countries.

The Panama Paleontology Project (PPP) launched a new phase of intensive collecting activity in 1986 that essentially focused on Panama and Costa Rica. To date, material has been collected from just over 500 locations. PPP is a company under joint ownership by 15 institutions in the USA, the UK, Venezuela, Panama and Switzerland.

Further information, site maps and lists of fauna can be found at: Neogene Marine Biota of Tropical America und Panama Paleontology Projects

Sampling locations in the Caribbean:

Excel table of NMB holdings from older collections (separate sheets for the various countries, including the Gibson-Smith collections of fossil and recent molluscs): CARIBBEAN_OLD_COLL

Excel list of the holdings at the Natural History Museum Basel from the PPP project: