Smashed! The Cerutti Mastodon

An Ice Age paleontological-turned-archaeological site in San Diego excavated by Museum staff preserves 130,000-year-old mastodon bones, molars, and tusks that show evidence of modification by early humans. Analysis of these finds dramatically revises the timeline for when humans first reached the Americas, according to a paper scheduled to be published in the April 27 issue of the prestigious science journal Nature. More.

The Paleontology Department houses collections of fossil vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants collected primarily from Mesozoic- through Cenozoic-aged sites in southern California and northern Baja California, Mexico. The collection is under the care of Tom Deméré, Ph.D., curator of the Paleontology Department and director of PaleoServices. The curatorship of the Paleontology Department is endowed as the Joshua L. Baily, Jr., Chair of Paleontology.

Paleontological Mitigation Services

PaleoServices is a consulting arm of the Museum specializing in the collection, salvage, preparation, and curation of paleontological resources (fossils) from development-slated acreage. Services also include record searches, paleontological resource assessment of properties, paleontological mitigation plans, and more. More.

Online Collections Database

Search the paleontology online collections database, which includes more than 137,000 species lots representing 1.4 million specimens. The specimens have been recovered from over 5,400 recorded collecting localities, primarily from southern California and northern Baja California, Mexico. There are 574 primary and 730 secondary types. More.


If you want to learn more about the paleontology and geology of our region, see a list of recommended books, selected publications, case studies, education materials, and media coverage. More.


The staff of the Department of Paleontology and PaleoServices consists of individuals with a range of backgrounds and experiences that have come together to create a dedicated and professional team. More.

A Deep Look at a Mammoth’s Skull

Join paleontologists from theNAT as they collaborate with technicians from the Naval Medical Center San Diego to get a look inside the skull structure of a Columbian mammoth using high tech CT scanners.