The Type and Figured Collection

Type specimens form the basis for the published type description of a new species. They display the characteristics that are regarded as different enough from closely related species to justify the creation of a new species. They must be available for reference and study by other scientists. No scientist should describe a new type species without first verifying that the new material is distinct from closely related species. This collection is the most important in the Non-vertebrate Paleontology Lab (NPL) and numbers about 22,000 specimens.

The collections are arranged physically by date of publication, but can be queried in a variety of ways, for example, by taxonomy, geology, geography, or collector using this web interface.

Conservation, data entry and imaging of these collections were based upon work largely supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0646468. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Additional support was provided by the Texas Natural Science Center of the University of Texas at Austin.

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PaleoCentral Features

Texas Geology Map and Basic Searching

PaleoCentral makes extensive use of the Google Maps API. Since many records in the collection are located in Texas, we have generated a Texas geology layer to overlay on top of Google Maps. Map tiles were generated from MrSID files provided by the Texas Natural Resources Information System.

The screenshot to the right demonstrates how you can use the Location dropdowns in order to filter the record set to display only Travis County records. You may also filter the record set by scientific or common name. Simply start typing in the box and a dropdown will automatically show you scientific names that match your search.

County Overlays and Advanced Search Options

In addition to the geology overlay, you may also choose county, terrain, road, satellite, and hybrid overlays. If you click the "Advanced Search" link, additional filtering options will appear. Use these options to filter by stratigraphic position, collection, or collecting event. The Geologic Time Scale slider allows you to filter records to a specific time period. For instance, by sliding it to the left, you can limit the search to records from the Cenozoic Era.

To the right, you can see a screenshot of the advanced filtering options with county overlays enabled.

KML Downloads and Google Earth

Datasets can be viewed on the web or downloaded in CSV (Excel) or KML (Google Earth) format. To view PaleoCentral data in Google Earth, specify the records you want to download using the record filters, then click the "Download KML" button and save the KML file to your desktop. Double click the file to open it in Google Earth. You may add additional layers by downloading KML files such as the Northern Arizona paleo maps, which is a file that includes 20 full Earth overlays for the last 600 million years in 20 million year intervals.

You will need the Google Earth software to view KML files.

Record Details

If you are interested in a specific record, simply click the "Record Details" link next to the record in order to view all data associated with it. Here you can see the scientific and common name, taxonomic hierarchy, collector info, publication, locality, stratigraphic position, physical location, and more. If you need help, simply move your cursor over the next to any field to find out more information.

If the record has images associated with it, a gallery of thumbnails is displayed at the bottom of the page.

Viewing Images

To view a large version of any image, simply click on a thumbnail on the record details page. This will center the image in a viewer that allows you to easily flip through the images. To view the original sized image, click the "view zoomable image" link which is located at the bottom left of the image.

Zoomable High Resolution Images

The zoomable image viewer allows you to zoom in closely on the high resolution image, allowing you to see finer details. To zoom in, drag the slider to the right. To zoom out drag the slider to the left. You may also pan the image using the arrow keys on your keyboard, the pan controls, or by dragging the red rectangle in the image thumbnail located in the corner.


To read articles, click the References link at the top of the page. This will list all references available in the database. If a PDF version of an article is available, a Download link will appear next to the article. You must have Acrobat Reader installed in order to view PDF's. The details link next to any article will show you additional information, including hyperlinks to all records that an article references. We are still adding additional references and PDF's, so check back often for additional literature.