Crocodylomorph and early archosaur collections

Our crocodylomorph and early archosaur collections comprise around 5,000 specimens, from isolated incomplete bones to articulated skeletons on slabs and mounts. 


Although many specimens are from pyrite-bearing strata vulnerable to decay, the Museum's crocodile collection is generally in very good condition.

At least a fifth of the collection space is occupied by Triassic archosaurs from the UK and abroad, including aetosaurs and phytosaurs.

British Mesozoic crocodilians are very well represented, due to a long history of collecting in areas where the Lower Lias, Upper Lias, Kimmeridge Clay, Oxford Clay and Purbeck beds are eroded or quarried. 

Steneosaurus bollensis replica fossil.

Replica fossil specimen of Steneosaurus bollensis, from the Upper Jurassic Period.

These include:

  • Teleosaurus
  • Metriorhynchus
  • Steneosaurus
  • Dakosaurus
  • Goniopholis

Foreign specimens include a large number from parts of Europe, India and Africa. 

High quality casts are held of several important specimens housed in other museums. 

Geological and geographic range

The collection includes Triassic material from South Africa, USA, Germany and Scotland. The Jurassic and Cretaceous of the UK, France and Germany are very well represented. 

There are smaller collections from Canada, USA, Brazil, Switzerland, Morocco and Niger. The Cenozoic is covered by large collections from the UK, India, Mali, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. 

Smaller collections exist from Spain, France, Belgium, Uganda, Sudan, Tanzania, Madagascar, Aldabra and the Seychelles, Bengal, Burma, Baluchistan, Bolivia, USA and Queensland. Some regions such as Thailand and Patagonia are represented by casts of specimens.

Using palaeontology collections


Dr Lorna Steel
Curator, Vertebrates and Anthropology Palaeobiology Division
Earth Sciences Department
The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Rd, South Kensington

+44 (0)20 7942 5058


Visiting the collection

Visitors may use benches adjacent to the collection, which are equipped with lamps and a long-arm microscope. 

The Reptile Library on the ground floor is also available for visitors, but books and reprints must be returned after use.

For access to recent specimens, please make an appointment with the relevant Zoology Department curator.