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The University of Wyoming

Department of Geology and Geophysics

Collection of Fossil Vertebrates
(a component of the Departmental Scientific Collections)

How to Use The Database


How do the searches work? | How are the data displayed?

Begin a search


What fields can I search?

       Due to the sensitive nature of selected information associated with fossil specimens, some data have been excluded from this web-based database.  If you find that you need specific information not found in this database, please contact our collection manager to discuss additional access.

Search Fields


Specimen Number

The University of Wyoming's institutional prefix is UW.  However, when searching the database this prefix need not be typed.
Original Specimen Number
In a few cases old specimen numbers have been changed due to accidental duplication or other problems.  Although this field may prove important to your searches, the specimen number field most probably will be sufficient.
Identification
This field denotes the lowest known taxonomic identifications.  As an example, if Equidae were typed into this field, only specimens identified down to the family Equidae would appear.  No specimens identified using taxonomic hierarchies lower than family Equidae (such as Equus)would appear.  In contrast, if Equidae were entered in the Family field, all specimens from the Equidae would appear (including specimens identified as Equus).
Element
This field summarizes the kinds of fossils associated with each specimen.
Species
Trivial name if known.
Genus
Generic name if known.
Family
Familial name if known.
Order
Ordinal name if known.
Other Rank
This field is used if a fossil is identified to a taxonmic level other than those specified above (e.g. subfamily, suborder, etc.)
Other Taxon
This field contains the taxonomic name associated with the field other rank.
Locality Number
This number designates the locality at which the specimen(s) were collected.  The locality number is not a number given to the locality during collection, but is a number assigned as the locality information was entered into the database.  All locality numbers are prefixed with a "V".  Not all specimens have an associated locality number.  This is especially true for specimens collected during the early years of UW's existance when detailed locality data were not provided.  Detailed locality data are available only to qualified researchers from the Curator or Collections Manager.
Locality Name
The name of the locality designated by the collector.
Period
Standard geologic period.
Epoch
Standard geologic epoch.
Age
For Cenozoic specimens, age refers to North American Land Mammal Ages (NALMA).  Mesozoic terminology may apply, NALMAs or marine ages.
Member
The litho-stratigraphic name of the host unit.
Formation
The litho-stratigraphic name of the host unit.
Group
The litho-stratigraphic name of the host unit.



How do the searches work?

The search form that allows you to specifiy criteria is relatively simple and straight-forward.  Multiple fields from the list above may be searched simultaneously.  It must be noted that the logical operator for the entire form is "and".  Wheras, if information is entered in multiple fields, the find request compares that information with an "and" operator.  As an example, if Equidae were entered into the "identification" field and V-2056 were entered in the "locality number" field the search would return all records that are identified as Equidae and are from Locality V-2056.  Specimens identified as Equidae that are not from locality V-2056 would not be returned.

Besides the logical operator, each field has a series of operators that may be selected by a pull down menu.  The operators for text fields are as follows:

    equals
    not equals
    contains
    begins with
    ends with

The default setting for text fields is "equals".  Changing this setting may be beneficial if only partial names are known or if you are unsure of the correct spelling of a name.

The operators for numerical fields are as follows:

    Equal
    Greater than
    Greater than or Equal
    Less than
    Less than or Equal
    Not Equals

The default setting for numerical fields is "Equal".

In addition, the sort-order should be set before conducting a search.  Setting the sort-order designates a field by which the search will organize the found records.  The default value is specimen number, but any field may be selected.


How are the data displayed?

After conducting your search a "results" page will appear that lists all the records that match your search criteria.  On this page only minimal information will be given for each record, including:

Specimen Number
Identification
Locality Number
Element

From this page you may click on the specimen number of any record to view a more detailed page that includes information from all the fields list above.  In addition to the fields listed above, the status (whether on loan, missing, or available for study) of the specimen will be given.  Please recognize that information for all the fields is not known for many records.  You also may click on "printable report" from the first results page to view a condensed, printable version of that page.  The printable report will contain the following information:

Specimen Number
Identification
Element
Locality Name
Locality Number
Period
Age
Epoch
Formation
Status

If you have questions regarding The University of Wyoming's Collection of Vertebrate Fossils Database, please contact us.



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