Welcome to the Digital Atlas of Ancient Life

Identify fossils and explore the diversity and history of life on Earth


We need your support

Continued development and maintenance of the Digital Atlas of Ancient Life and the Paleontological Research Institution's (PRI's) broader [email protected] project depends on support from visitors like you.

Donations of any amount are welcome.


What's new?

September 10, 2021

A revised and expanded chapter about gastropods (snails and slugs) has been added to the Digital Encyclopedia of Ancient Life.

Explore here
August 27, 2021

A new page about angiosperm leaf architecture has been added to the Digital Encyclopedia of Ancient Life.

Explore here
April 20, 2021

Skulls of ancient hominids have been added to the Virtual Collection.

Explore here

March 2021

Daring to Dig: Women in American Paleontology explores the achievements, adventures, and discoveries made by women in American paleontology over the past few centuries.

This online exhibit also considers the personal and societal challenges that these pioneering scientists faced and examines their professional accomplishments in the broader context of the history of paleontology as a scientific discipline in the United States. 

Explore here

Regional field guides to fossils

Need help identifying your fossil discoveries?
Access Digital Atlas field guides to fossils from particular time periods and regions by selecting from the guides above, or by downloading Version 2.0 of the free Digital Atlas of Ancient Life App, available now for iOS and Android devices.

Interactive, 3D models of fossil and modern specimens. 


Virtual Exhibits

Explore virtual museum exhibits about different topics in natural history

New: Our first virtual exhibit, "Survivors: Up Close with Living Fossils," is online now. Explore here.

Classroom lesson plans, activities, and associated materials that relate to the Ordovician, Cretaceous, and Neogene Atlases. All of these resources may be freely accessed and downloaded here.