Does iNaturalist have an official birth date?

If it doesn’t, it should! And I think we could use it to celebrate, build community, and help the general public out there appreciate what iNat is achieving and what it has already achieved.

Date suggestions?

Given biology’s incredible capacity for deception and foolery, we could do worse than picking April 1!


This seems to be the observation with the lowest ID:

That might give us a date?


Except, the system accepts observations from any date. That includes scanning in any old pre-digital photos.

The dispute may be between the school project it started as, and the official site launch. I don’t know what the answer is there.

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Yes, the observation date is obviously useless. But the upload date maybe not.


Observation 2 is a good starting point, but as the comments note, it was recorded by one of the developers before the site went live.

Internet Archive snapshots show the site close to launch on 7th March 2008 and live with 112 observations on 20th April 2008. So it probably was close to the 1st of April!

Hello @kueda, are you able to help answer this question about when iNaturalist went live? Is there a single well-defined date, or was its road to today’s 200,000,000+ observations (50,000 of them yours) one of gradually adding functionality?


This doesn’t answer the question, but you can sort observations by date added (by viewing in List mode and clicking the “Added” column heading to sort ascending), which can be a fun glimpse into it’s early days:

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Since observation 2 is dated March 20, maybe iNat should adopt a nearby date widely associated with “green” as its birthday, March 17. :)


This blog post says “March 2008”, but not the exact day.


That’s my actual birth date!


I think this google groups announcement by Ken-Ichi on 24 March 2008 may be the official start:
iNaturalist is an egg!
(Or maybe that just counts as the start of Beta testing, but I don’t find an “iNaturalist has hatched” announcement.)


Woah. That’s the date I posted this question!

A bit spooky.

But I agree. That sounds like it should be the official birthday.

Dang. Too late for cake now.


The following wording and what follows it in the cited “egg” announcement describes iNaturalist as ready to receive our observations:

The first release of iNaturalist is ready! We’re inviting you and a small
group of others to try out this early version of iNaturalist because we value your opinion.

While observation 2 preceded that announcement by four days, it seems likely that it was part of setting the stage just prior to the official announcement. So the 24th of March, 2008 seems appropriate as an official birth date. Perhaps the moderators and staff can decide whether to make that official. If they declare it as so, we can all celebrate that day annually beginning next year. If instead they would rather choose another birthdate and let us know what it is, we can celebrate it then.


It is never too late for cake.


:cake: Until it is gone…

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Then one bakes again.


but what if they run out of ingredients and the store is closed… :joy:

Monday, 24 March 2008. I remember it well. In the same office I’m sitting in today, on another Monday, but with lots more gray hair now than I had back then. It would be a few years before I heard of iNat, but I was taking nature photos at the time (bought my first digital camera a few months earlier) and wondering how best to organize them and make them available to others. (My flip phone in 2008 was pretty useless and I never used it for photos.) But the solution to my needs was coming. Happy Anniversary!


Had cake at Kirstenbosch today. Happy birthday iNat!

Do you know Adam? He was in the states last week presenting on mesembs and other endemics of the northern cape.

How about April 2nd? :wink: