Dinosaur Footprints / Fossils

Hello all!

Im quite new to this platform ( its fantastic by the way!)
I was wondering if it was acceptable and/or useful to upload photographs of dinosaur footprints or fossils, they would be technically flora and fauna of the world just no longer current specimens.

The main problem i see other than people thinking its not relevent is that you would be making the locations of these finds public, which isnt always a good thing.



P.S. Sorry if this has been covered before, but when i searched i couldnt find anything relevent.

Observations of non-recent organisms (fossils) are marked by “recent evidence of organism” and thus fall into casual grade. I would personally avoid posting fossil finds because that definitely is a gateway for people to illegally collect them.

That said you are allowed to post them if you want to.

Ah yes that was my concern, its a shame because i would imagine fossil maps would be of great use to certain scientists. Maybe it would be useful in a future itteration of the platform to be able to mark findings as private so the general public cant access the locations of rare species and in this case fossils.

It would be cool to have an option to post them under a “fossil” tag and have iNat automatically obscure them the way iNat does for Endangered species.

This is an available option, you can change the geoprivacy of your observations to obscured, which places it in a large rectangle but doesn’t show the true point, or completely private.

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i’m not a fan of the system’s built-in obscure functionality. in this case, i think it would be better to mark a fossil observation completely private. alternatively, the observer could manually set the location at, say, 10km away in a random direction, and set positional accuracy at, say, 15km. if the photo has GPS coordinates attached to it, he’d have to manually strip those out before uploading to make sure the photo metadata doesn’t reveal the true location. it’s a little more cumbersome this way but better than using the system’s built-in obscure functionality i think.

welcome to the iNaturalist community @mark-sundown!

also… if while making the fossil observation you’re making other observations that will not be private or obscured in some way, then i would also upload those separately at a different time and use a totally different observation date for the fossil observation. (you’ll also have to manually change the photo metadata in that case to also obscure the time.)

I don’t know that it would be desirable for all fossils to be automatically obscured- the fossils I encounter are generally hyperabundant (major rock layers that are basically 80% brachiopod by weight with some crinoids thrown in). It’s crossed my mind that it would be neat to casually observe those on iNat as they are biotic in origin and can provide information about the mineral substrate of the living ecosystem, but they really have zero risk of theft due to their regional ubiquity and easy access- the observations would have more value with open location info.

@pisum Thank you for the welcome.

I understand everyones views, although i think maybe unless the inaturalist community as a whole starts recording fossils then my contributions wouldnt be worthwhille anyway and also if there are no scientists that will be using the data then maybe this conversation isnt relevent.
Perhaps i will email the inaturalist team themselves to see if it is somthing the platform is looking to record.

From staff in one of several previous similar conversations (bolding mine):

As cool as archaeological and geological finds are, iNaturalist’s focus is on users sharing their observations of recent, wild organisms and it’s not really the place for uploading observations of other things. To make it an ever expanding platform for archaeological finds, artifacts, geology, etc., would blur the focus of the site and make it significantly more difficult to run. A few fossil uploads here and there (properly marked as not recent evidence) are fine, but it would be better to find or create other platforms specific to those types of finds (eg rockd.org rather than shoehorn them onto iNaturalist. iNaturalist code is open source so it could be theoretically adapted to create such platforms.

From the Data Quality Assessment description:

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