Paleontology Research Guide

The Smithsonian Libraries and Archives' Paleontology Research Guide is a select list of resources for students, teachers, and researchers to learn about paleontology. 

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 Smithsonian 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: Smithsonian 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 Research Guide: Includes resources from the National Museum of Natural History and its libraries, links to other museums and libraries, and directories and databases related to biodiversity.​
  • Science Teaching Resources (Life Science): Collection of Life Science related lessons, activities, literacy resources, and videos from 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.
  • Index to Organism 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.
Last Updated February 27, 2023