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?

June 24, 2022

A new page on Leaf Margin Analysis (LMA) has been added to the paleoecology chapter. LMA is a technique used to estimate mean annual temperature using fossil leaves of flowering trees and shrubs.

Explore here
2-panel image showing photos of Green River plant fossils. Panel 1: Photograph of a display of plant fossils made up of a series of rectangular blocks of rock with fossils mounted on a wall. Right: Photograph of a fossil Macginitea leaf, a palmately lobed leaf with five lobes and a toothed margin.

May 23, 2022

Undergraduate students at the University of Kansas have created a series of videos that explain the idea of punctuated equilibrium and stasis, as well as its connections to macroevolutionary theory.

Image showing a model of punctuated equilibrium.

April 15, 2022

Interested in learning more about the fossils of the United States? Visit our [email protected] project to explore the country's amazing fossil record.

Explore here
Photograph of the trilobite Arctinurus boltoni from the Silurian of New York.

Regional field guides to fossils

Logo for the Ordovician Atlas of Ancient Life Fossils Paleontology
Logo for the Pennsylvanian Atlas of Ancient Life Fossils Paleontology
Logo for the Cretaceous Atlas of Ancient Life Fossils Paleontology
Logo for the Neogene Atlas of Ancient Life Fossils Paleontology

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.

Logo of the "Survivors: Up Close with Living Fossils" exhibit

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.