Collection Contact Information

Inquiries regarding Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory (VPL) loans or collections visits should be directed to the Collections Manager:

J. Chris Sagebiel

Email: sagebiel@austin.utexas.edu | Phone: 512-232-5514 | Fax: 512-232-5518

All other requests should be directed to the Director of Museum Operations:

Matthew Brown

Email: matthewbrown@utexas.edu | Phone: 512-232-5515 | Fax: 512-232-5518


Mailing address:

Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory, Building 6
J. J. Pickle Research Campus, R7600
10100 Burnet Road
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas 78758


VPL Access

The Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory (VPL) is a research, teaching and conservation branch of the Jackson School of Geosciences. It is not open to the public. Access is by appointment only, or through organized tours offered by VPL.

We welcome researchers, students and educators to use our collections. However, arrangements must be made in advance to visit the VPL. Students arranging to visit VPL must also submit acknowledgement of the intended visit by their supervisors. Non-academic and commercial use of VPL collections, archives and other resources requires prior written approval by the VPL Director, in accordance with more general VPL policies. VPL shall judge whether a proposed use of its collections is non-commercial or academic.

VPL Specimen Loan Policies

Loan Definition

Loans of specimens from the VPL collections are temporary physical transfers of objects to another professional institution, with no transfer of ownership.

Internal Loans: The Director must be informed prior to removal of any specimens from VPL. This is achieved by filling out an Internal Loan Form (formerly referred to as a “Blue Sheet”) available from the Collections Manager. This document is required for the loan of specimens utilized at VPL or the Jackson School of Geosciences. All other uses require a formal external loan. External loans are initiated through the collections manager. Internal loans are for a maximum of one semester or the duration of the summer. Loans must be renewed each semester. The information on this loan form is vital to the management of the VPL collections. Providing complete and accurate data on this form will speed the loan process. The data from this form provides the statistics needed to maintain collections funding.

External Loans: Loans of specimens from the VPL collections are temporary physical transfers of objects to another professional institution, with no transfer of ownership. Requests for specimen loans are approved by the Director of VPL. Requests for loans must be made in writing through the collections manager (email is sufficient). Students requesting loans must also submit acknowledgment of the loan request by their supervisors.

Loan Requests

Requests for specimen loans are approved by the Director of VPL. Requests for loans must be made in writing through the collections manager (email is sufficient). Students requesting loans must also submit acknowledgment of the loan request by their supervisors.

Loan Approvals

Loans generally are approved only to professional researchers employed by academic and non-profit institutions. Loans approved on behalf of graduate student research will be made to supervisors rather than to the students directly. Supervisors borrowing material on behalf of students must guarantee the fulfillment of VPL loan policies and conditions as set out below. Loans generally are not made to individuals or for-profit organizations. Requests to cast, prepare, repair, renumber, transfer or otherwise manipulate VPL specimens require prior written approval by the VPL Director (see below).

Loan Duration

Unless otherwise stipulated, loans are authorized for periods of one year. Loan extensions must be requested in writing prior to loan expiration. It is the borrower’s responsibility to return the specimen on time and in good condition. Subsequent loans will not be approved to any borrower in possession of an overdue loan.

Loan Transfers

Transfers of loans to third parties generally are not permitted. Specimens must be returned to VPL before they can be sent to another borrower. Any questions regarding transfers should be directed to the VPL Director.

Type and Figured Specimens

Type specimens, specimens figured in publication, fragile specimens, or sole representatives of a taxon are not generally available for loans.

Loans for Display

If a VPL specimen is to be placed on public display, the borrower must obtain written permission from VPL in advance. Specimens placed on display must be protected from physical access by the public. If a specimen is to be physically modified in any way for the display, this must be arranged in advance, in writing, and VPL preparation staff must be consulted about the proposed modifications. VPL specimens placed on public display must also receive proper acknowledgement (see below).

Loan Shipment

The cost of shipping and insurance must be arranged with the borrower in advance through written communication with the VPL Director. Loan material being returned to VPL must be packed in a manner comparable to that as received, and it must be adequate to insure the safety of the specimen. We request loans to be returned via a professional carrier (e.g., Federal Express) that provides for minute tracking (either by electronic signature or hand-signed documents at every station) from the moment it leaves the sender until it is received at the other end. In other cases we may require loans to be hand-carried, by a person approved by the VPL Director. Borrowers who violate the terms of the loan agreement or who return an object with unacceptable damage or alterations may be restricted from future use of VPL collections.

Loan Receipts

Upon receiving a loan, recipients must sign and return to VPL a form acknowledging the arrival and condition of the specimens, and that confirms the accuracy of the specimen manifest. When a loan is returned, its arrival at VPL is acknowledged by a written receipt.

Loan Service Fees

VPL reserves the right to assess a loan fee in certain circumstances including, but not limited to, occasions where labor-intensive requests for loans unduly burden the normal operation of the VPL.  Shipping costs must be worked out in advance for each loan request.

Handling of Loaned VPL Specimens

Specimens must be stored at the institution to which they are loaned, in climate controlled, secure rooms. The borrower agrees to conserve and protect the materials entrusted to their care, to pay for the repair of any damages to the specimens while in their care or a result of their handling, packing and shipping of the specimens. Preparation, repair and other modifications to the specimens may not be made without prior written approval of the VPL Director. Please report any specimen damage immediately to discuss the appropriate means of repair. Destructive analysis of specimens is not permitted without prior written approval by VPL.

Destructive Sampling

Requests for destructive or consumptive sampling of permanent collections must be made in writing to the collections manager and approved by the Director following consultation with Collections Manager, Laboratory Manager, and appropriate research staff. The requestor must provide a detailed description of research objectives and the protocols to be followed, as well as a justification for the sampling techniques to be used. Evidence of past results, including previously published research, should be included when available.

Molding, Casting, and Scanning of Loaned Specimens

Molding, casting, and CT scanning of VPL specimens are prohibited without prior written consent of the VPL Director. The VPL maintains an active casting and CT scanning program.  We may already have casts or datasets of the specimen of interest. Alternatively, we may prefer to mold and cast, or to CT scan the specimens ourselves. Requests regarding molding and casting material should be sent to the VPL Director.

Cataloguing Changes for Loaned Specimens

The borrower is asked to notify the VPL collections manager of any errors or or changes in specimen data. If one or more specimens from a lot bearing a single catalog number are to be figured, included in a table, or otherwise referred to by number in a publication, and not all specimens from that lot pertain to a single individual, then the published specimens must be individually renumbered. Do not subdivide a lot by adding letters or other suffixes to the numbers. Do communicate directly with the VPL collections manager, who will provide new numbers and amend the catalog and database to accurately reflect any changes.

Acknowledgment for use of Loaned Specimens

VPL must receive appropriate acknowledgment in any publications and presentations based on the use of materials from its collections. Presentations of items from the collections (or reproductions thereof) in exhibit, publication or other venue must bear the following credit line: From the Collections of the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin. VPL must be given a copy of any publication (in any medium) that makes use of its material (or reproductions thereof).

Reproduction of VPL Specimens

Reproduction (casts, molds, photocopies, photographs, CT scanning, digital images, etc.) of objects loaned by the VPL is subject to the general rules governing reproduction of University holdings. In addition, the following clauses apply to VPL specimens:

  1. Written permission from the VPL Director is required by the borrower to make any reproductions of objects for academic non-commercial purposes.
  2. VPL may ask that negatives or molds made be given to VPL or destroyed if a reproduction is made in limited numbers.
  3. Permission to reproduce photographs, publications, or other material for which the VPL or the University does not hold the copyright will be granted only if the applicant demonstrates that s/he has obtained permission from the copyright holder.
  4. The applicant will defend and hold harmless the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory against all claims, demands, costs, and expenses incurred by copyright infringement arising from the use of VPL material.
  5. VPL must be assured that the proposed use of items from its collections (or reproductions thereof) results in an appropriate presentation of the original item. Superimposition of text, cropping, bleeding, the addition or changing of color and other alterations are not permitted without specific prior approval of the VPL Director. Items from the collections (or reproductions thereof) must not be used for any purpose deemed offensive by the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory or The University of Texas at Austin.
  6. The applicant agrees not to make or allow to be made unauthorized copies of any materials provided by the VPL.
  7. Reproduction of VPL specimens may be subject to fees (see below).

Citation of VPL Specimens in Publications

The acronym for Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory fossil specimens is TMM. This supercedes all earlier acronyms, including UT, BEG, and UTBEG.

The acronym for fossil specimens from the Texas A&M collection (now held by VPL) is TMM-TAMU.

The acronym for fossil specimens from the East Texas State collection now held by VPL is TMM-ETSU.

The acronym for fossil specimens from the Midwestern State University (now held by VPL) is TMM-MWSU.

The acronym for Recent specimens from the collections is M (e.g., M-8357).

Collections Use by Non-Academic Interests

In certain circumstances, VPL does permit commercial interests to access materials in its collection and archive. A fee will be charged for all commercial usage. Requests for access must be made in writing (email is sufficient), and approved by the VPL Director. The Director will determine which requests represent commercial use of its resources.

Commercial Access Fees
Collections use $200 per hour 2hr minimum
Database searches $200 per hour 2hr minimum
Reproduction of Photographs $250 per photo
Casts of Specimens priced individually
Specimen Identification see below
Locality Evaluations request cost estimate
Environmental Impact Assessments request quotation

Locality Evaluations

In certain circumstances we can make site visits to evaluate the nature of fossil vertebrates that are still in the ground. We charge $200/hour onsite, plus expenses. Written requests for site visits should be made to the VPL Director.

Requesting Copies of Published Works of Carl Gans

This PDF list is a complete record of the published works of Dr. Carl Gans. Many of these titles are available as offprints for distribution. Many others are not. Members of the scientific community are welcome to request copies of publications that are available for distribution. Please follow instructions carefully for placing requests.  Please place orders by email to Chris Bell <cjbell@mail.utexas.edu>. Copy the full citation(s) you are requesting from the list (including the reference number) and paste it into the body of the email. Provide your name and a complete postal mailing address where you would like materials sent.