THE CRETACEOUS ATLAS OF ANCIENT LIFE: A NEW ONLINE RESOURCE FOR IDENTIFYING AMMONOIDS AND OTHER ANIMALS FROM THE WESTERN INTERIOR SEAWAY
In order to remedy this, the Cretaceous Atlas of Ancient Life (www.cretaceousatlas.org) was developed to help avocational and professional paleontologists, as well as students and their teachers, identify and learn about ammonoids and other ancient species from the WIS. The Cretaceous Atlas, which is part of the broader Digital Atlas of Ancient Life project (www.digitalatlasofancientlife.org), features taxonomic and stratigraphic occurrence information about individual species, as well as high-quality photographs of museum specimens.
This project, which remains under active development, also highlights challenges related to the aggregation and synthesis of taxonomic data. First, comprehensive faunal lists for the WIS do not yet exist and many species names that have been applied to museum specimens are synonyms or otherwise incorrect. One goal of the Cretaceous Atlas project is to develop standardized taxonomic listings in order to facilitate use of valid species names across museum collections. Second, photographs of many type specimens of WIS species are not yet freely available online and existing published photographs of these type specimens often remain in copyright and/or lack licensing (such as Creative Commons licenses) that might otherwise favor their use in open access digital media. The Cretaceous Atlas is seeking to address this by attaining and sharing new images of type material.