Museum open Weds–Mon, Sea Center open daily, 10:00 AM–5:00 PM

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

Your Question