The Paleontology Collection of the Museu de Zoologia of USP had its origin at the end of the 19th century, when the Museu Paulista was founded.
Several fossils, among vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants, which were initially deposited in that institution, became part of the MZUSP collection in its early years of existence. The materials received from the Museu Paulista were catalogued by Paulo Emílio Vanzolini in 1955, and most of this collection is the result of donations and collections carried out in the last century. This collection has been kept for decades at MZUSP, with little access by the scientific community.
In 2001 MZUSP decided to take a decisive step towards establishing a line of research in Paleontology strongly linked to a scientific collection. During this period, the Palaeontology Laboratory of MZUSP was created. Through projects coordinated by Hussam Zaher and financed by FAPESP, it carries out a series of palaeontological campaigns for fossil prospection and collection in several locations belonging to the Cretaceous Basins of Bauru, San-Franciscana, and Araripe, and also in karst lands of the Ribeira Valley.
As a result of these campaigns, hundreds of samples were collected and prepared, generating material of high quality and relevance to Paleontology. In addition to enriching the MZUSP Paleontology Collection, these materials provided data for scientific publications and contributed to the training of new professionals through the completion of course final papers, Master’s degree theses, and Doctoral degree dissertations developed inside and outside MZUSP. With the collection’s organization, it was possible to provide access to materials for interested researchers. In addition, the most representative specimens are now part of the MZUSP’s long-term exhibition collection, as well as in short-term exhibitions, allowing the general public to learn a little more about the history of life on Earth.
The MZUSP Palaeontology Laboratory’s implementation represents an unequivocal strengthening of the palaeontological sciences in the State of São Paulo, which has always lacked professionals in the area, despite having sedimentary basins with great fossiliferous abundance.
Prof. Dr. Hussam El Dine Zaher
Phone: (55) (11) 2065-8090
Dr. Alberto Barbosa de Carvalho
Phone: (55) (11) 2065-8081