Paleontology Subject Guide

Welcome to the Smithsonian Libraries Paleontology Subject Guide. This is a select list of freely-available resources for students and teachers to learn about paleontology. Please feel free to contact us at with suggestions for additional resources or with questions.  See links to specific guide categories below:

Smithsonian Resources

  • National Museum of Natural History Department of Paleobiology: Website for the Smithsonian division which studies of fossil animals, plants, and protists that provides information about Smithonsian research and collections.
  • Cerro Ballena: Website exploring how paleontologists studied Cerro Ballena, a unique paleontological site in Chile, and what they have found about the fossils found there, featuring images, maps, and 3-D models of their finds.
  • Pyenson Lab: Blog from the Pysenson Lab, a research group studying the evolution and paleobiology of marine vertebrates, with posts about their field work, research, and marine paleobiology more generally.
  • Vertebrate Paleontology Library: Library which focuses on the physical geography and paleozoology and vertebrates of the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Tertiary, and Quaternary periods with over 1,800 volumes.
  • Natural History Subject Guide: General subject guide for the Natural History Library featuring links to all Natural History libraries and related subject guides within the Smithsonian.
  • Science Teaching Resources (Life Science): Collection of Life Science related lessons, activities, literacy resources, and videos from the Q?rius at the National Museum of Natural History.
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System: Taxonomic database searchable by scientific and common names maintained through a partnership of U.S., Canadian, and Mexican federal agencies including the Smithsonian.
  • Databases for Science Research: List of science research databases from the Smithsonian Libraries. Many of the databases are free access, but others do require users to be onsite at a Smithsonian library or have Smithsonian network access.
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library: Online library featuring open access legacy literature from the Smithsonian Libraries and a consortium of other natural history and botanical libraries.
  • Unearthed! A Digital Dig into the Smithsonian Libraries' Paleobiology Collection: Online collection created by Smithsonian Libraries to showcase the Biodiversity Heritage Library's holdings of books pertaining to paleobiology.


  • The Dino Directory: Directory of known dinosaur species from the British Natural History Museum searchable by name, geologic age, and location featuring an illustration, taxanomy, and dietary information for each species.
  • The Dinosauria: Educational website from the University of California - Berkeley featuring information about dinosaurs, their fossil record, their lives, and their taxonomy.
  • Natural History Museum - Dinosaurs: Website from the British Natural History museum featuring information about their dinosaur collection, dinosaur crafts, and articles about dinosaur origins, evolution, and extinction.


  • The Paleobiology Database: Database providing fossil occurrence and taxonomic data across geological ages. The includes an interactive map to display data, which can also be filtered by geological age.
  • Berkeley Paleo Collections: Digitized image collections of microfossil, vertebrate, plant, and invertebrate specimens from the University of California Museum of Paleontology.
  • iDigPaleo: Database of digitized insect fossil collections featuring images, locality, and taxanomic information.
  • Index to Oranism Names: Searchable index of millions of scientific names, both fossil and current, from the scientific literature.
  • A Guide to the Orders of Trilobites: An online guide featuring information about the morphology, classification, and paleobiology of trilobites, as well as many images and fact sheets about the ancient arthropods.
  • NMITA: Taxonomic database of marine life from the Neogene period, with maps, identification guides, and photos for selected species.
  • Paleoclimatology Data: Collection of resources about Paleoclimatology from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The resources include datasets, current projects, and presentations.
  • Geology, Paleontology & Theories of the Earth: Digitized collection of early and influential books in paleontology and geoscience from the Linda Hall Library.