Finding Fossil Information On The Web

Fossil information sites are abundant on the web. But not all sites are created equal. Some sites are scholarly and may be over-the-head of the first-time or casual fossil collector. At the other end of the spectrum are sites that are a collection of links with no real information. Their sole purpose is making money from their google ads. There are plenty of sites in between that offer every form of fossil information you can imagine and for every audience.

Focused Sites
The scholarly sites often delve deeply into one fossil information topic. Dr. Sam Gon III’s site- http://www.trilobites.info/ shares just about anything you would want to learn about trilobites. His site is easy to navigate because it links logical topics, but also because it has a long list of the topics covered on the home page. Elasmo- http://www.elasmo.com/ covers sharks: fossil sharks, modern sharks, classification and disputed classification. This site is usable by the novice, but has enough depth to bring you back over and over again.

General Sites
Sites like UCMP- http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/ approach the fossil information topic from a broad perspective. They have a huge amount of information on fossils. They include fossil-related topics like geologic time and classification (phylogeny) of both fossil and modern species. Fossils-facts-and-finds’- http://www.fossils-facts-and-finds.com/ target audience is teachers and pre-college students. The topics covered relate to both fossils and geologic time, but additionally include tips and lesson plans for sharing the information with students, and there are projects that students can do on their own.

Especially For Kids
Since fossil information is often needed by young students, there are sites feared toward short, quality information about specific species. Enchanted Learning- http://www.enchantedlearning.com/Home.html gives a little information about LOTS of topics…not just fossils and dinosaurs. Their approach gives good starter information.

No Help Here
Watch out for “links-only” sites. These sites contain long lists of linked sites that MAY contain pertinent fossil information, but you can waste huge amounts of time following these links and never really find what you are looking for. (Of course, that’s what these sites WANT you to do, because for every click, they make money!)

Fossil Directories
Good niche directory sites, on the other hand, can be of great help. Bob’s Rock Shop- http://www.rockhounds.com/ is a good directory of fossil information sites because Bob has looked at the sites and puts a short note about the information you can find at each linked site.

Read the descriptions! With a little scrutiny, you’ll save yourself time, avoid the “no information” link sites, and get on to the business of getting REAL fossil information!

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