Useful Palaeo. Web Sites


The following annotated lists of web sites represents a selected set I and/or my colleagues have found useful over the years. If you want an unfiltered list of sites relevant (in some sense) to a particular topic and assembled by a mindless algorithm, go to Google, Yahoo, Ask, etc. If you want to access and use the sites other professional palaeontologists use, look here.

Web Site Directories

  1. US & Canadian Geoscience Departments - the most comprehensive list of links to the websites of US and Canadian geoscience departments available. If you’re looking for information about specific academic geoscience programmes, or want to know who’s teaching palaeontology where in North America, this is where you start.

  2. Geological Surveys - a fairly comprehensive list of links to the web sites of geological surveys (and similar organizations). Both international and US state surveys are included.

  3. Professional Geological Societies - list of links to the web sites of professional geological societies and associations. Maintained by the University of British Columbia Library. If your society or association isn’t listed here you might consider contacted with a request to be added. It’s in all our interests to have a comprehensive list of these organizations available.

  4. Directory of Palaeontologists - international database (not just a directory) of paleontologists. If you’re looking for a specific person, look here first. If your name isn’t in this database you should consider adding it. Maintained by the International Palaeontological Association.

  5. World Taxonomist Database - database of over 4,000 practicing taxonomists including many with a strong interest in fossil species and paleontological topics. If your name isn’t in this database you should consider adding it. Maintained by the ETI BioInformatics.

  6. Geoscience e-Journals - a list of peer-reviewed electronic journals dedicated to open access publishing in the field of Earth Sciences (geochemistry, geophysics, paleontology, regional geology, stratigraphy, geography, etc.)

  7. The Paleontology Portal - a resource for anyone interested in paleontology, from the professional in the lab to the interested amateur scouting for fossils to the student in any classroom.

3D Visualization

  1. 3D Museum - 3D scans of various natural history objects. This site, created and maintained by Ryosuke Motani is populated with scans of modern vertebrate skulls and invertebrate material. The scans — and the site — are very well done.

  2. 3D Visualizations - 3D scans and cranial reconstructions of various modern and fossil vertebrates. Created and developed by Larry Witmer.

  3. e-Foram Stock - 3D CT scans of planktonic foraminifera. Both surface scans and X-ray shots included. Created by Osamu Sasaki with support from Tohoku University Museum, Sendai, Japan

Reference Databases

  1. The Paleobiology Database - a scientific organization run by paleontological researchers from around the world. We are bringing together taxonomic and distributional information about the entire fossil record of plants and animals.

  2. Time Scale Creator - a free JAVA package, enables you to explore and create charts of any portion of the geologic time scale from an extensive suite of global and regional events in Earth History.

  3. PaleoIntegration Project - five global-scale databases, comprising sedimentary rocks, dinosaurs and fossil plants, are provided here. Each can be searched individually or in any combination with the others, via text or interactive maps. They can also be searched by any combination of age, location, or content. Search results can be downloaded as text or viewed on present and paleo maps.

  4. Ocean Drilling Programme Legacy - access to all information collected and published by the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) and Ocean Drilling Project (ODP).

  5. Radiolaria Database - searchable online catalogue of fossil and recent radiolarian species. Maintained by

  6. INTERRAD Mesozoic Radiolaria Database - contains the INTERRAD Jurassic-Cretaceous Working Group (1995) radiolarian database with the systematics, sample database, and the UAZ95 biochronology. It also includes the Middle Cretaceous radiolarian biochronology and palaeontology from Northern Apennines and Betic Cordillera by O'DOGHERTY (1994). The various datasets are related in a way to easily access and visualize ranges of selected taxa, ranges of all taxa of a sample, or taxa of a selected time interval.

  1. AMNH Fossil Collections - searchable online database of images and information about the paleontological collections of the American Museum of Natural History. Maintained by the American Museum of Natural History.

  2. AustroFossil Database - searchable information on taxonomic groups, geographic-, geologic-, chrono- and lithostratigraphical units, references, and status and repository of animal and plant fossils found in Austria and the surrounding area. At the moment the database includes 50.000 datasets as well as a register of 3954 species published in the Catalogus Fossilium Austriae. Regular updates will be provided in future.

  3. OeTYP - catalogue of palaeontological types in Austrian collections. Maintained by the Natural History Museum, Vienna.

  4. Neogene Marine Biota of Tropical America - searchable online catalogue of images and taxa used in the NMITA research project. Maintained by the University o Iowa.

  5. Fossil Record 2 Database - a searchable, near-complete listing of the diversity of life through time, compiled at the level of the family. Maintained by the University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

  6. Date-a-clade Database - interactive, database summarizing palaeontological dates for major nodes on the tree of life. Maintained by the University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

  7. Tree of Life Project - more than 10,000 World Wide Web pages, the project provides information about biodiversity, the characteristics of different groups of organisms, and their evolutionary history. Maintained by the Tree of Life Project.

  8. Encyclopedia of Life - an online reference and database on all 1.9 million species currently known to science and will stay current by capturing information on newly discovered and formally described species. The Encyclopedia of Life will help all of us better understand life on our planet. Maintained by the Encyclopedia of Life.

  9. Species 2000 - an online reference and database whose goal is to provide a validated checklist of all the world's species (plants, animals, fungi and microbes). This is being achieved by bringing together an array of (at present 66) global species databases covering each of the major groups of organisms. Maintained by the Species 2000 project.

  10. Foraminifera Database Search - a database with so far 2100+  foraminiferal datasets consisting of an image and accompanying data-values.

Infrastructure for Paleontological Data Analysis

  1. Morphometrics

  2. Morphometrics at SUNY Stony Brook - the premier web site for support of morphometrics. Information available (and maintained) about meetings, software, hardware, data, references, people, etc. Maintained by F. James Rohlf.

  3. Morpho-Tools - a repository of on-line morphometric data analysis tools and online morphometric workbenches, including linear measurements from landmarks standard eigenshape analysis, extended eigenshape analysis, relative warps analysis, and Procrustes PCA. Maintained by Jonathan Krieger.

  4. Image Analysis

  5. UTHSCSA Image Tool (IT) - free image processing and analysis program for Microsoft Windows 9x, Windows ME or Windows NT. IT can acquire, display, edit, analyze, process, compress, save and print gray scale and color images.IT can read and write over 22 common file formats including BMP, PCX, TIF, GIF and JPEG. Image analysis functions include dimensional (distance, angle, perimeter, area) and gray scale measurements (point, line and area histogram with statistics). ImageTool supports standard image processing functions such as contrast manipulation, sharpening, smoothing, edge detection, median filtering and spatial convolutions with user-defined convolution masks. IT also has built-in scripting capabilities that allow the user to record repetitive tasks and playback saved scripts to automate image analysis.

  6. NIH Image - a public domain image processing and analysis program for the Macintosh. It was developed at the Research Services Branch (RSB) of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

  7. Scion Image - a free port of the NIH Image software to the MS-Windows environment.

  8. ImageJ - a JAVA application inspired by NIH Image that runs on any computer platform.

  9. TINA - an open source environment developed to accelerate the process of image analysis research. TINA provides functionality to assist in all areas of image analysis including handling of image, image feature and geometrical data; statistical and numerical analysis of data; GUI development as well as transmission and containment of data. TINA also provides a range of high-level analysis techniques for both machine vision (3D object location, 2D object recognition, temporal-stereo depth estimation, etc) and medical image analysis (MR tissue segmentation, blood flow analysis, etc).

  10. General Quantitative Data Analysis

  11. eco-tools - an innovative approach to the delivery of data-analysis procedures common in ecology and conservation biology. Created by Gareth Russell and hosted by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

  12. Phylogenetic Data Analysis

  13. Phylogeny Programs - an very complete list of software packages available for various types of phylogenetic analysis. Created and maintained by Joe Felsenstein at the University of Washington.

On-line Publications

  1. PaleoNet Forum - the PaleoNet Forum was an initial attempt at developing a more formal, on-line, technical communication venue for paleontologists. The Forum ran the articles listed below from 1995 through 1996. After that, it’s concept was expanded and developed further into the first true on-line paleontological journal, Palaeontologia Electronica (PE, see PaleoNet Index Page). If you look closely at the author list you’ll find the names of several of the original PE editors.

  2. Quo vadis paleontology? by Douglas Erwin

  3. The Gulf of Mexico Taxonomic Equivalency Project by Garry Jones

  4. "Plastics..." by Whitey Hagadorn

  5. Yesterday, today, tomorrow by Wm. R. Riedel

  6. The future of paleobotany (How am I driving ?) by Una R. Smith

  7. The potential of HTML in undergraduate paleontology courses by Tim Patterson, Bob Boudreau, Christian Damus, Sean Donaldson, Grant Fowler, Chris Gallagher, Niranjala Kottachchi, Martin Novak, Jason Richard, Mike Wellum, Kim West, and Scott Whattam

  8. The inevitability of publishing electronically about palaeontology by M.C. Boulter

  9. Interactive manipulation of enigmatic palaeontological data by Dilshat Hewzulla and Michael Boulter

  10. A global paleontology basic data source - the new treatise? by Terry Poulton

  11. On-line Monographs

  12. Proceedings of the Michigan Morphometrics Workshop by F, J. Rohlf and F. L. Bookstein - the proceedings volume from the Workshop that kicked off the geometric morphometrics revolution.

  13. A Guide to Modern Radiolaria by Catherine Nigrini and T. C. Moore, Jr. - an early attempt to provide an illustrated, taxonomic monograph for a fossil group on-line.

  14. Cenozoic Radiolarian Stratigraphy for Low and Middle Latitudes with Descriptions of Biomarkers and Stratigraphically Useful Species by Catherine Nigrini and Annika Sanfillipo - an early, and very well done, attempt to provide an illustrated, taxonomic/biostratigraphic monograph for a fossil group on-line.

  15. Continuing Series

  16. PalaeoMath 101 - This column, which has run in the Palaeontological Association Newsletter since 2004,  explores aspects of quantitative analysis in paleontological contexts with an emphasis on practicality, understanding of the issues involved in planning a data analysis strategy, and the implications of making choices between available data-analysis techniques. Each essay is written for the novice data analyst, especially those who always wanted to gain knowledge of this subject, but never had the opportunity to do so and haven't managed to make much progress through self-education. In addition, use of the methods discussed are illustrated via MS-Excel spreadsheets containing the various formulas and procedures in the form of worked examples. The links below are to html and/or pdf versions of the printed column. All calculated performed in the columns are given (or summarized) in the associated spreadsheet as an encouragement to the reader to explore use of these methods on their own data.

  17. Regression and Allied Multivariate Methods

  18. Prospectus and Regression 1 (Newsletter Issue 55, 2004), by Norm MacLeod | website |

  19. Regression 2 (Newsletter Issue 56, 2004), by Norm MacLeod | website |

  20. Regression 3 (Newsletter Issue 57, 2004), by Norm MacLeod | website |

  21. Regression 4 (Newsletter Issue 58, 2005), by Norm MacLeod | website |

  22. Principal Components Analysis: (Eigenanalysis & Regression 5) (Newsletter Issue 59, 2005), by Norm MacLeod | website |

  23. Factor Analysis (Newsletter Issue 60, 2005), by Norm MacLeod | website |

  24. Minding your R's and Q's - part 1 (Newsletter Issue 61, 2006), by Norm MacLeod | website |

  25. Rs and Qs part 2: Correspondence Analysis (Newsletter Issue 62, 2006), by Norm MacLeod | website |

  26. Data Blocks and Partial Least Squares Analysis (Newsletter Issue 63, 2006), by Norm MacLeod | website |

  27. Groups 1 (Newsletter Issue 64, 2007), by Norm MacLeod | website | pdf |

  28. Groups 2 (Newsletter Issue 65, 2007), by Norm MacLeod | website | pdf |

  29. Groups 3 (Newsletter Issue 66, 2007), by Norm MacLeod | website | pdf |

  30. Multidimensional Scaling and Ordination (Newsletter Issue 67, 2008), by Norm MacLeod | website | pdf |

  31. PalaeoMath 101 Spreadsheet 1

  32. Geometric Morphometrics

  33. Distances, Landmarks and Allometry (Newsletter Issue 68, 2008), by Norm MacLeod | website | pdf |

  34. Size & Shape Coordinates (Newsletter Issue 69, 2008), by Norm MacLeod | website | pdf |

  35. Who is Procrustes and What Has He Done With My Data? (Newsletter Issue 70, 2009), by Norm MacLeod | website | pdf |

  36. Shape Theory (Newsletter Issue 71, 2009), by Norm MacLeod | website | pdf |

  37. Form & Shape Models (Newsletter Issue 72, 2009), by Norm MacLeod | website | pdf |

  38. PalaeoMath 101 Spreadsheet 2

  1. Palaeontology/Evolution Classics

  2. On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin (1859)

  3. On Growth and Form, by D’Arcy Thompson (1917)

  4. Report of the Scientific Results of the Voyage of the HMS Challenger (1873-1876)

  5. O. C. Marsh Papers

Cover Image: Detail from Hynerpeton bassetti by Janice McCafferty.