Curation and Prehistoric sea creatures

I just became curator maybe 2 days ago with the hope of fixing and adding more prehistoric sea creature species to Inaturalist. I understand there are much more important things to fix, but I’ve got plenty of time. I’m also more adding species/genera that have enough information that reconstructions have been made, i don’t plan on adding every extinct sea creature.
But i have just been running into problem after problem. I can’t seem to fix anything. I’ve helped add tribes and genera that were missing. But there are a piling number of flags I’ve made because i can’t add a parent taxon because a framework is in or something. I need help

A list of mine

I accidentally posted without finishing. so im still typing.

Finished now.

Masracetus is separated from everything else because i can’t put Dorudontinae under Basilosauridae even though that’s where it belongs.

Not to discourage you, but I think you need to interface with the respective taxon curators under mammals, reptiles, fish, possibly birds etc that you want to add things to.

Even though your species are extinct, all these areas and others are locked taxa, which means only the designated curator in those areas can add any new records under them.

You can see who the designated curators are by going to any of the respective pages such as and on the taxonomy tab clicking the Taxonomy Details link.

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But what if they don’t wanna waste time fixing extinct creatures? I’m fully willing to do the work but these “problems” are getting in the way.

Unless they are willing to assign you as a taxa curator for all these areas, there is not too much that can be done.

Well how do i apply to become the curator of extinct sea creatures?

I for whatever reason couldn’t even add this species to its genus. So its just floating free from the taxonomic tree.

Only an iNat staff member can assign taxa curation roles, you’ll need to reach out to them.

Why am i able to do everything right with
Iv’e been able to add 5 genera, a few families etc with no trouble.

Because not all families of life are locked, and arthropods fall under this. Areas not locked can be edited by any curator

If you have not done so, I would suggest reading the curator guide

I have, thank you.

I’ll read through it again just to make sure that i’m not breaking any rules.

I have one more question. What should i do about Lyrarapax? Lyrarapax has a few reconstructions/drawings but none are on flickr or Wikipedia. Is there a way to add the photo?

iNat is specifically not focused on prehistoric creatures, so I’m curious as to what your goal is here.


You know your right, apologies for wasting all your time. The original goal i thought of was Inaturalist is like the only site where you can make lists of creatures, and i think that inaturalist would be more complete if all species where in the database. So if you wanted to make a list of bacteria you could.

iNaturalist is a great tool for managing taxonomy, but because the focus of iNaturalist is to document living organisms, our taxonomic tree is geared towards supporting living organisms. The few extinct organisms we have are largely the consequence of imports from Encyclopedia of Life and because people like to upload photos of fossils on occasion. It’s really only out of courtesy that some extinct organisms are in our database. I’m sorry if this disappoints you.

However, iNaturalist can always use more curators and your enthusiasm is appreciated. I would suggest applying your focus towards living taxa, rather than long-extinct ones.

EDIT: We do support Bacteria!


Have you considered getting involved with MyFossil? They are building a fossil database and social network and would be more up your alley. Also, if you want to volunteer with a participating lab, the Paleobiology Database is building a database of specimens from scientific publications.

A paleontologist