Welcome to the Taphonomy Workgroup

Taphonomy, the study of burial, examines the biotic and abiotic processes that interact with organisms and their products (e.g., femurs, feces and footprints) on their paths to becoming fossils. Taphonomic studies are critical to establishing biases in fossil assemblages and determining more accurate interpretations of the fossil record. In collaboration with Neotoma, the Taphonomy Working Group is establishing a repository to house specimen-based taphonomic data on fossil deposits from any taxonomic group, depositional setting, and time period, including modern death assemblages from across the globe.

We are also collaborating with the archeological community to ensure access to closely-allied data in other databases (e.g., the Digital Archaeological Record: tDAR). The centralization of taphonomic data will provide an invaluable resource for studying vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants across geologic time.  Furthermore, while the Taphonomy Database will provide an avenue for past work to more easily inform future research, we also hope the database may serve to inform data standardizations and promote enhanced comparability among future datasets.

Read more