Digital Atlas of Ancient Life 4+

Digital Atlas

Rodney C Spears

Designed for iPad

    • 3.5 • 27 Ratings
    • Free



This app is a free resource designed to help individuals identify and better understand fossil species from the Neogene, Pennsylvanian, Ordovician, and Cretaceous of the U.S.A. It is a companion to the Digital Atlas of Ancient Life website and was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF EF-1206757, EF-1206769, EF-1206750 and DBI-1602067, DBI-1645520) to principal investigators Dr. Bruce S. Lieberman (University of Kansas), Dr. Alycia Stigall (Ohio University), and Dr. Jonathan Hendricks (Paleontological Research Institution). This project is related to a broader natural history specimen digitization effort supported by the National Resource for Advancing the Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) called Integrated Digitized Biocollections, or iDigBio. For additional information about this work please see the open-access paper by Hendricks, Stigall, and Lieberman (2015) in Palaeontologia Electronica.

What’s New

Version 2.3.0

Improved Image handling, especially on downloading the full image

Ratings and Reviews

3.5 out of 5
27 Ratings

27 Ratings

AlanaLynn ,

Great App

I've been waiting for a fossil app to come along! Love the content and information. Hope to see additional time periods and more pics. I have many interesting fossils including some different conularia species that I didn't see on the site. I would love to have a forum to submit photos for possible inclusion.

François-Marie Arouet ,

Very disappointing and poorly designed

It only covers three periods (Ordovician, Pennsylvanian, and Neogene), and for those it only covers selected invertebrates in a few states in the eastern US, with a different set of states for each time period. It doesn't even have Pennsylvania as one of the states for the Pennsylvanian, funnily enough.

The content it has for those is a list of some of the invertebrates found there, but they're organised taxonomically, so you have to already know what genus something is in to look it up. The photos are very limited and often undiagnostic, and the descriptions are fairly technical, just what's easily available in free databases. Some of the information is inaccurate, or at the very least imprecise (like claiming that Rusophycus is recognised in rocks from the Cambrian up to the present, or having incomplete occurrence data).

The design is not especially helpful, requiring users to tap through multiple times for ichnotaxa due to a poorly imagined plan to categorise them like other taxonomic groupings. The least the developers could have done is built a dichotomous key for the limited specimens, time periods, and locations they cover, but it seems that not even that is included.

This is a free app, so an amateur paleontologist might still want to get it just to have something to look at, but don’t expect this to be a useful resource — it’s not.

Trilolight ,

Awesome new update

Just got the new version of the app and really love it. I’d been a long time user of the previous version and the new version has great new graphics and interface, and the Cretaceous time period is an excellent addition. The app is an excellent tool for learning more about various types of fossils, what they look like and where to find them.

Developer Response ,

Thank you. We are very excited to have released the new version with the additional Cretaceous information.

App Privacy

The developer, Rodney C Spears, has not provided details about its privacy practices and handling of data to Apple. For more information, see the developer’s privacy policy.

No Details Provided

The developer will be required to provide privacy details when they submit their next app update.

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