Talk:List of fossil sites

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What to include?[edit]

Most of these aren't fossil sites but rather formations, meant in the very narrow geological sense of "a laterally expansive group of genetically related rocks." For example, the Smoky Hill Chalk "fossil site" can not be said to refer to anything smaller than an area of several hundred square miles in Kansas and adjoining states. A better use for this list would be for individual locations at which fossils are found, have been found, or can be found. E.g., Olduvai Gorge, Penn-Dixie Quarry, La Brea Tarpits.

Yes, but there is no article dedicated to geological formations, and this seems presently the most convenient and appropriate place to collect them. Some were listed already, I started adding a few others I found in the WP or would need for articles I did, and it went on from there. (It is also convenient as a to-do list ;-).
Besides, there is no definite boundary. A "fossil site" - in practical use - can be as small as the Laornis quarry, or it can be an entire network like the Jehol Formation, or it can be rather synonymous in content with a formation if the latter is not explored in other places.
It might seem nonsensical to the anthropologist who deals with only a few handfuls of key sites. One could add avian paleontology sites like Willow Creek or Mátraszõlõs or Pemberton, New Jersey, but then again, formation info would probably be sufficient for the time being...
But I suggest to start making a table out of this. The data is getting confusing for the amount of it. Dysmorodrepanis 21:49, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Fossil Sites and Fossil-bearing Formations: Inclusion Criteria[edit]

These are two different things. So I'm not sure why a list of "fossil sites" contains links to a number of sedimentary formations, many of them obscure, that just happen to produce fossils. If a formation is associated with a landmark fossil site (meaning that it's famous) that's fine, but I don't think every stratigraphic unit that has ever produced a fossil ought to be in this list, which is being made less useful by overzealous inclusions. Geogene (talk) 00:33, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

I agree that this list should be about places rather than stratigraphic units. Abyssal (talk) 04:43, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
From a geologist's perspective, listing only places is problematic. Many important fossil beds are present in multiple locations, and it is the formation name that helps you find them on a geologic map. The Austin Chalk, for example, outcrops all over central Texas. No single geographic location is particularly important, since people have studied fossils from a number of outcrops (and road cuts). Listing every exposure is impractical. Should we then list all of Austin and its surroundings as a single site? No, because the area consists of a number of other geologic formations as well. Perhaps we could require a "type locality" be listed as the "site" for formations with many exposures? That way, the importance of the formation is still implied, but each "fossil site" in the list is a single geographic location. Would this be an acceptable approach? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Elriana (talkcontribs) 21:54, 14 July 2014 (UTC)


Whew! after ~5 hours work I have converted the lists to a set of wikitables for each of the continets (plus New Zealand). Please check it over and not any mistakes that i missed. I was able to find several redlinks were just incorrect wikilinks to existing articles but i may have missed some so check the areas that you know. -Kevmin 06:08, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Mh, this article should be converted to sortable tables (y'know, those with the clickable divided-square symbols in the top row).
What needs to be in there? (discuss here, and when there is consensus, it can be done)
Country - might be difficult, sediments know no political borders. Any ideas?
Age, geological - use format: "Epoch, Subepoch: Stage"? Should work well. "Subepoch" would be Upper .
Age, absolute numbers - start with oldest. Needs remarks when age is coarsely assessed (eg subepoch). Formations, let alone single sites like Lake Mungo or Atapuerca, can often be dated very precisely. This section needs references.
I cannot code these at present :( Dysmorodrepanis 21:19, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
I think it would be useful to add a column that states the reason why the site is important; i.e. a unique fauna or fossil group or preservation style. Rolf Schmidt (talk) 05:11, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
The country/state column is problematic, since formations cross political borders. This highlights the issue with listing formations as "sites". If this is truly a list of sites, then formations should not be listed in this way. More clarity would be achieved by listing the formation(s) associated with each site in a separate column. This would also eliminate the country/state issue, since sites are less likely to cross borders. If, however, what people want is really a list of geologic formations, the List should be renamed and the sites associated with each formation listed in a separate column. Elriana (talk) 19:15, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Lake Mungo[edit]

Although this area is classed as archaelogical it has some palaeontological relevance. Enlil Ninlil 04:51, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Indeed. Dysmorodrepanis 21:19, 1 December 2007 (UTC)


It may be just me, but I cannot scroll to the bottom of this page. Jinns in the program, no doubt.

IMO, I would have much more fun using this table if it were chronological instead of geographical. I suppose at least half the users will disagree with that one.

Finally, could the sites with hominid or ancestral-to-hominid remains be designated? Maybe something as simple as asterisking them would work; you have enough columns to worry about as it is.

Terry J. Carter (talk) 00:29, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Proposed merger[edit]

I'm against Dysmo's proposed merger with the list of dinosaur bearing rock formations. The latter is just too useful on its own.Abyssal (talk) 05:15, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Yes I believe that is so, and would make this page too long. Enlil Ninlil (talk) 04:39, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

I would support merge as this page should end up duplicating everything on that page if it lives up to it's title. Otherwise we need to rename this page. I think the dinosaur page is too specific, there are surely non-dinosaur fossils in many of the formations listed. Nowimnthing (talk) 16:25, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Dinosaurs are so important historically and relevant culturally that I think they should get there own page, honestly. Abyssal (talk) 16:31, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
What if you used a sortable table with a column for major species or genus? then users could easily pull out the dino info. Nowimnthing (talk) 15:57, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Proposed Sites[edit]

I would add Hakel In Lebanon, a rather famous site for it's marine fossils.One not in use (talk) 18:44, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Go right ahead. Be bold! Awickert (talk) 19:16, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Done —Preceding unsigned comment added by One not in use (talkcontribs) 22:33, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Oslo graben[edit]

What about adding several places within the Oslo graben, where marine fossils from ordovician and silurian are widely found within layers of mudstone? Sample picture: More information: [1] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:24, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

missing ?[edit]

I think literature reference abbreviation should be included as crossreference. Perhaps not necessary as table (it si hundred of sites, but as wiki linked-string (spatially and next temporally ordered?). If red perhaps somebody link it; great if if blue. (talk) 00:52, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Indus river[edit]

Perhaps this should be added? This was supposedly where transitional fossils of the whale, like Ambulocetus Natans was found. Eik Corell (talk) 21:29, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Merge with Lagerstätte?[edit]

Should this page and the Lagerstätte page be merged? PAR (talk) 18:03, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Lagerstätten are a distinct type of fossil site with specific characteristics. Given that this article is intended as a list, I don't think that it's fair to try to make it also cover a specific unusual type of fossil site. J. Spencer (talk) 02:55, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

What is the purpose of this list?[edit]

This is a stand-alone list, so it must satisfy specific notability criteria for stand-alone lists. In particular, " A list topic is considered notable if it has been discussed as a group or set by independent reliable sources ... The entirety of the list does not need to be documented in sources for notability, only that the grouping or set in general has been."

I have provided a couple of references for such a list, but they highlight the main problem for this list: How exactly is this list defined? What are the selection criteria? The title implies a comprehensive list of fossil sites, but extrapolating the list for the U.S. and Canada to the globe would result in an enormous list. Also, lists should not be indiscriminate. On the other hand, the lead says the sites must be "important and/or well-known", but that is hard to interpret. I have seen several lists nominated in Articles for deletion because editors objected to such wording on the grounds that inclusion on the list becomes just a matter of personal opinion. Also, the only link I found for important sites (Fossil sites) is much shorter than this one. A another reasonable selection criterion is that all the entries are notable enough to be the subject of separate Wikipedia articles. Most of the sites in this list satisfy that criterion, although there are too many red links.

So ... what is the purpose of this list? RockMagnetist (talk) 16:11, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

Do you think a category (with appropriate sub-categories) would be justifiable instead of this list? That would eliminate the sites for which no WP article yet exists, but I'm not sure what purpose is served by including those on this list. The list has averaged 240 views a day for the last 30 days, so there is some interest in it. -- Donald Albury 01:44, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
I wonder whether those 240 prefer this list or one of the alternatives – particularly List of dinosaur bearing rock formations, List of fossil parks and Lagerstätte (which is mostly a list)? It is rather handy to have the option of sorting the sites by location. RockMagnetist (talk) 02:51, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
Those pages average about 40, 11 and 95 views a day, respectively, so they are not as popular, whatever that means. Sub-categories could handle sorting fossil sites by location, by formation, by type, and by any other reasonable scheme. The only advantage I see for a list over categorization is that a list can include sites that do not yet have a WP article. -- Donald Albury 11:06, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually, lists have plenty of advantages (see Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and navigation templates). I'm not recommending that this list be replaced by a category - just that its purpose should be clarified. RockMagnetist (talk) 15:40, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
I am surprised, however, to see that there is no Category:Fossil sites. RockMagnetist (talk) 15:42, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

Suggested Reformat[edit]

Since multiple formations can be found at the same site, and the same formation can be found at multiple sites, listing them in the same column is problematic (and is not done consistently in the current list). Also, sorting by time period would be improved if all the continents were in the same list. Below is an example of what this could look like.

Group, Formation, or Unit Site Age Continent Country Noteworthiness
Cross Valley Formation Seymour Island Upper Paleocene Antarctica
Hanson Formation Early Jurassic Antarctica
La Meseta Formation Seymour Island Eocene Antarctica
López de Bertodano Formation Seymour Island Upper Cretaceous – Lower Paleocene (MaastrichtianDanian) Antarctica
López de Bertodano Formation Vega Island Upper Cretaceous – Lower Paleocene (MaastrichtianDanian) Antarctica
Nordenskjöld Formation Longing Peninsula Jurassic Antarctica
Prebble Formation Middle Jurassic Antarctica
Santa Marta Formation James Ross Island Upper Cretaceous Antarctica
Arikaree Group
  • Gering Formation
  • Monroe Creek Formation
  • Harrison formation
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument Miocene North America USA: Nebraska
Aquia Formation Potomac River Paleocene North America USA: Maryland and Virginia
Arkona Shale Devonian North America Canada: Ontario

Any comments? Elriana (talk) 20:35, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Update: I've done this for the entire list in my sandbox. After a bit of cleaning and checking of links, I will replace the existing list (unless someone objects and/or has some better suggestions). Elriana (talk) 19:23, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
I find the format ok, but needs to be split for easier access. It was better when the continents were divided. Now its just confussing and tedious to look shit up. Enlil Ninlil (talk) 02:10, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

You do realize, you can sort by continent, right? The reformat now allows you to sort by other things, too, such as time period, country or notability. Elriana (talk) 03:46, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

Questionable inclusions[edit]

I have been looking for sources for the Zhongming Formation but can't find any. The article itself is a one liner. Does this really exist? Additionally I can't find any information regarding Fangou Formation which is listed in this article but is a red link. Rincewind42 (talk) 03:27, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Try varying the spelling when you search. Maybe these formations are better known under a different Romanization scheme. Also try the Paleobiology Database's stratigraphic unit search feature. Don't include "formation" in the name though if you do. Abyssal (talk) 20:00, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
There is a reference listed for the stub article on Zhongming Formation. So yes, I'd say it probably exists. The Romanization is an issue with a number of the formations and localities in Asia. I have been (slowly) working on checking the entries in this list, but am ill-equipped to track down many of the Asian, African and South American references. If you do find additional information, please consider expanding the relevant article. Elriana (talk) 03:36, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

Ages for Hominin sites[edit]

It might be useful to associate archaeological ages (ASPRO chronology?) with Hominin sites. Using these Period names instead of the Geological ones, however, would make the Age column messy and inconsistent. Any proposals of a systematic solution? What about sites with animals and other fossils as well as Hominin? The geological periods are universally applicable, even at Hominin sites, but the archaeological ones have finer resolution and may be more useful to some people. Thoughts? Elriana (talk) 21:57, 13 September 2017 (UTC)