Commons:WikiProject Paleontology

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WikiProject Paleontology.png

The Wikimedia Commons Paleontology project!


This WikiProject aims primarily to document in photograph, sound and video all species of prehistoric creatures and topics of paleontology. There are billions of prehistoric taxa, and many more topics of paleontology, and thought all of these have never been seen in life by human eyes, we aim to document them to the best of our ability. WikiProject Paleontology descends from WikiProject Tree of Life, and sister Projects include WikiProject Birds, WikiProject Plants and WikiProject Gastropoda.



  • All scientifically inaccurate works of paleoart can be tagged with {{inaccurate paleoart}}, which generates a customizable tag that adds images automatically into Category:Inaccurate paleoart.
  • Paleoart is allowed without being considered original research according to multiple Wikipedia "rulings" of discussions.
  • Inaccurate images do not have to be removed from other categories, but the note of why they are inaccurate would be best to include citations linking to where the inaccuracies are noted when possible.

Category naming conventions:

  • Only a genus category exists for monotypic taxa
  • Categories for specimens with nicknames are "[Nickname] ([Taxon] specimen [catalogue number])"
  • Categories for specimens without nicknames are "[Taxon] (specimen [catalogue number])"
  • Fossil categories are "[Linnaean name] fossils"
  • Illustration categories are "[Linnaean name] life restorations"

Important categories[edit]

Categorizing paleontological images[edit]

To help locate images and be sure are indexed in the most significant areas, we offer a short guide of desirable categories.

For images of fossil specimens:

Keep in mind that there are numerous categories grouping two or more of the areas listed above. Examples:

You have to choose the most appropriate. If the mixed category is generalized, for example Category:Fossils of Germany, you should add a more accurate geographical category, perhaps referring to the local geology or nature if any of this categories exists (Category:Geology of Holzmaden). There should be no redundant categories. For example, if there is a category for the image fossil site, then location and geological age should already be in that category.

Also there may be many, many other interesting secodaries categories, as for the photographed anatomical part (Category:Dinosaur skulls, Category:Mammal vertebrae, ....), taphonomy (Category:Death pose), musealization (Category:Inaccurate mounted dinosaur skeletons, Category:Ammonoidea cross-sections), culture (Category:Fossils in walls and floors, Category:Fossils in heraldry), ...


Fossils are not copyrightable, since they are not art, so there should be no legal restrictions for us uploading photos of fossils here, even if there is no photography permitted in a given museum. Same goes for casts and 3D prints based on 3D scans of fossils. But then comes the problem of Commons:Freedom of panorama. In many countries, it is permitted to release photos of permanently installed artistic works, which would include for example models of dinosaurs (and yes, they are copyrightable, even if they are supposed to "copy" nature as some have complained). But in some countries, including the US, it is not permitted, which means such photos have to be deleted from Commons. Exceptions are if the artworks were created/funded by the US government, was published prior to 1923, if it is an anonymous work created before 1977, and if the artist died more than 70 years ago, which makes the public domain. The former goes for art created for the Smithsonian Museum, Petrified Forest National Park, and similar. Sculpted parts of a fossil/skeletal mount could be victim of lack of FOP in the US and other countries if they are the main subject of the photo (for example the entirely sculpted skull of Deltadromeus), but as part of a picture of the overall skeleton that is mainly fossil/cast/3D scanned (such as the recent swimming Spinosaurus mount), these could likely be discounted per Commons:De minimis.


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Other useful stuff[edit]