This WikiProject, WikiProject Palaeontology, aims to organise an effort to expand and improve Wikipedia's coverage of palaeontology-related articles. The guidelines below are intended to help editors focus and give an idea of what is needed by the project and how to attain it.
We aim to improve articles about palaeontologists and their work, extinctspecies, and areas that overlap with geology, life science, botany etc. There are also more specific projects on dinosaurs, mammals and extinction - WikiProject Palaeontology provides a central portal for co-ordinated work across these areas, and topics not broad enough to have a dedicated WikiProject.
If you want to submit paleoart images for accuracy review, place them here as well as links to what you used as references: Wikipedia:WikiProject Palaeontology/Paleoart review There you can also request new images for articles. If you want to participate as reviewer, you can put the page on your watchlist. When removing an incorrect image from an article, please put it up here for review so it can be fixed, otherwise the image might not be used again.
Users sometimes wonder whether it is necessary to create a separate article for every species in a genus.
In the case of monospecific genera, the usual guideline is to create a single article at the genus page. For example, an article exists at Saadanius and a redirect at Saadanius hijazensis.
In the case of genera that contain multiple species, a degree of common sense is necessary. Wikipedia:MERGE lists three reasons that it may be appropriate to combine the species into a single page:
There may be a substantial overlap in the content of the articles (for instance, if the species are found in the same locality and are morphologically and biologically very similar);
There may be very little text that can be written about individual species (if a species is very similar to others in its genus, a page may simply read "Orthoconus grandi is a species of Orthoconus whose shell is greater than 2 mm in height").
It may be necessary to have context from a broader article in order for readers to understand the species' context. For instance, the phylogenetic context of Halkieria requires lengthy explanation, so in this instance it is appropriate to have multiple genera in a single article.
If it is not appropriate to create a separate page for each species, species pages can be redirected to a genus page. If there is enough text to make it suitable, each species may have a separate section on the genus page; see Halkieria for an example. If a single species eventually generates enough content to warrant its own page, then this page can be created; but other species should only be split from the main article when their existence can be substantiated.
Wikipedia welcomes articles on notable paleontologists. However, please review Wikipedia's notability requirements for scholars before creating articles on palaeontologists or other scientists. In short, the subject must have made major contributions to their field, as recognized by other reliable sources, and/or have received significant coverage. Simply publishing articles or naming species may not be sufficient to establish notability, and there may not be enough material to write a satisfying, complete biographical article. The fact that a scientist's name has been linked on Wikipedia, or mentioned briefly in a book, may not be sufficient to establish notability. Writing about any living person requires special sensitivity, see: Biographies of living persons. You can find more tips and guidelines at WikiProject Biography
For any academic editor(s) who wish to reference their own work in articles or their own biography, we have set-up a system that allows other wiki-editors to make the edits for you, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Palaeontology/COI. This is to ensure there are no conflicts of interest, either real or in appearance.
Detailed taxonomic information, including notes on how taxa are defined and how they vary between different systems, belongs in the article proper. Where possible, however, a standard table will be provided to allow easier navigation between related groups and quick identification of what sort of organisms are being discussed. These are called taxoboxes. A typical taxobox is shown at right (it belongs on the top right of the page Dakosaurus). For extinct plants see Hymenaea protera.
There are three main sections to the taxobox:
A header showing the name of the group, sometimes followed by a representative image.
A table showing the placement of the group in a typical classification system.
A footer, whose content varies, showing the binomial name or a species, or a list of subgroups for higher taxa.
For fossil species, there is to be no status field. The only extinct species this should be used for are recently extinct ones (e.g. Yangtze river dolphin):
| status = EX
Position: The taxobox generally belongs at the top right corner of the article, unless it has been decided otherwise on the relevant talk page - for instance, if the article is not primarily about the biological group. Images of fossils or casts are generally preferred over hypothetical life restorations in the taxobox, unless no appropriate ones are available.
This page is within the scope of WikiProject Palaeontology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of palaeontology-related topics and create a standardized, informative, comprehensive and easy-to-use resource on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Here are some links to websites that host peer-reviewed publications that will be of interest to all users of the WikiProject. Note that some do any free access to some recent articles, but you most likely will need a log-on to get full access.
Matt Wedel, Randy Irmis, and Mike Taylor have prepared PDFs of many of O. C. Marsh's papers, at O. C. Marsh Papers. These are all in the public domain, and so also are great sources for images such as historical skeletal reconstructions and elements of anatomy.