Before You Ask...
See our rock and fossil FAQ for fossil eggs, meteorites, and collecting tips. See our butterfly FAQ here.
Search our site or browse the Ask a Curator categories to see if your question has already been answered.
If you're asking us to identify something, please provide us with clear photos from multiple angles, with something like a ruler or coin to show the size of the object. Tell us where you found it.
We answer questions whenever we can, from our areas of expertise:
- Insects and other terrestrial arthropods from western North America, arachnids of the United States
- General marine invertebrates and marine biology, especially marine bivalve mollusks and intertidal marine invertebrates
- Animal bones, amphibians, reptiles, and land mammals native to Central California. Vertebrate fauna of the Channel Islands, particularly birds
- Rocks and fossils of the Central Coast and Southern California, geology of California, general mineralogy and petrology, weather and climate
- General astronomy
- How science works, especially systematics, phylogenetics, nomenclature, microscopy, and specimen photography
- What museums are for and what museum work is like
- Cultural anthropology and history of the Chumash, other Native Californians, coastal foragers, and South Pacific Islanders
- Ethnobotany, Native American and Tribal arts
- General archaeology, traditional tools and technology, experimental archaeology