Is there a website or other resource that catalogs all fossils ever found? Basically, is there a literal "Fossil Record"?

Where do scientists gather their results from excavations? Are they just scattered in various peer-reviewed papers in science journals?

I'm imagining something like manuscripts and master texts. You have some researchers who analyze manuscripts to produce the text of that manuscript in electronic form, for instance. Then, other researchers take these various readings and assemble a master text, taking into account the variations and attempting to recover the original work.

By analogy, this would be like when a paleontologist at a dig site submits a paper about his/her findings to a science journal. Is there another group of scientists who look at all of these papers and compile a "master text" of the fossil record?

  • $\begingroup$ No main website because it is expensive to make one and involves risks. Those found in internet are mostly useless for research purposes. Those fossil collections are located mostly in their owners. It is a research advantage to have such collections. Similar situation is with iPS cell collections and embryo samples. Iran has the biggest iPS collection, while Japan biggest embryo collection. It depends how you define fossils and in what context to say where are the most significant collections. $\endgroup$ Jul 8, 2014 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ Honestly, I think what you would do is contact a institution that you know has an excellent collection of what you want, and ask them for their catalog of their samples. $\endgroup$
    – swbarnes2
    Jul 15, 2014 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ what kind of fossil records are you looking for? I don't think all of them would be segregated in the same database but there could be separate lists for dinosaurs maybe. $\endgroup$ Jul 15, 2014 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ @TheLastWord I thought there would be some kind of master catalog, per species listing the find and the estimated date attached to it... Like a Messier catalog for fossils. I'm just surprised it doesn't seem to exist. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jul 15, 2014 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ @John Can you go through fossilworks.org and paleobiodb.org . Let me know if they suffice. Paleobiodb has a map based view which I found quite interesting. $\endgroup$ Jul 16, 2014 at 4:29

1 Answer 1


fossilworks.org and paleobiodb.org are reasonably good databases for fossil records. Paleobiodb has even got a map based view which is really convenient. Thank you.


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