Importation of long-extinct taxa that become ungrafted

I’ve spent a fair bit of time recently inactivating what seems like an endless stream of ungrafted taxa that are long-extinct fossils that keep getting imported, yet no observations added. From previous discussion (thanks @bouteloua):

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 rather than shoehorn them onto iNaturalist. iNaturalist code is open source so it could be theoretically adapted to create such platforms.

So clearly we don’t necessarily discourage fossil taxa. What’s the best way to deal with them when they get imported and end up ungrafted? Is it acceptable to leave them dangling in the ‘ungrafted taxa’ category?


I don’t think things should be left in the active but ungrafted pool. Personally, I just inactivate extinct taxa if they don’t fit nicely in the tree already. And sometimes even if they do if someone is obviously trolling.

1 Like

I do think if you spend the time to see what they are and determine they are extinct, then mark them as such and inactivate them. Otherwise another curator is going to come along and just replicate the same research.

I just did another 20-30 of them this morning (I guess adding all the extinct taxa named after Lord of the Rings characters was too tempting for someone), it is getting frustrating to say the least to keep doing this. I wish there were a way to determine who is adding these. It is obvious they are not paying any attention to the taxa they are adding as they are simply getting inactivated and hidden, yet no complaints.

I definitely mark them extinct first, sorry if it sounded like I didn’t.

And I see they are now doing all the ones named after Star Wars…

Edit - and now Marvel Comics. Can someone check to see if there are any taxa named after IronMan, save them the trouble of adding them themselves.

Someone seems to be adding names from Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey right now.

Before that it was Greek mythology and before that, Norse mythology.

I think a temporary freeze on importing taxa might be warranted.

There are dozens turning up faster than they can be dealt with.

Looking through EOL, many of these seem to be clearly marked as ‘extinction status’ = ‘extinct’.

It would be great if such could be automatically excluded from importation.

1 Like

I’ve inactivated something well over 100 today (for every one in the list there are and can be multiple child species that have to be done too in most cases). I dont know how many @jwidness or others have dealt with.

They’ve added over 1,000 taxa today most just for the apparent humour of the name. They basically are just entering every funny or pop culture reference they can think of and adding any name EoL finds.

I have to admire their persistence, I spent over 8 hours cleaning them today and they are still going strong.

1 Like

Here’s a horror scenario: they realise the taxa have been inactivated and start over again from the beginning.

They wont reimport a second time if the name exists even if inactive.

Well, I’ve found one that may actually be extant: Poseidon. But it also can’t be grafted under the taxon framework. WoRMS

There’s also one that’s a class so can’t be grafted as a curator: Hadesarchaea. It’s also got probably 99% chance of not being observed by any users.

There have been multiple extant ones. It is actually part of the problem, if you dont clear out the extinct ones you cant find the extant ones( or ones added by other people legitimately trying to add something to use) to fix because the list is limited to 100 entries with no scrolling function.

And they’ve simply restarted again this morning. Probably reading this thread and having a good laugh about it too.

1 Like

So the old issue of multiple copies of ungrafted taxa coming in has definitely been fixed? That would definitely be good news…

Dont think so:

Using @pisum’s helpful code, you can use this URL to see and access up to 10,000 active ungrafted taxa:

This currently returns 227 active ungrafted taxa, and the most recent ones appear at the bottom of the list. To see only the really recent ones, you can play around with &id_above= and set it to something like 1100000 or higher.

EDIT: oops, I almost forgot @jwidness’s even handier utility:

I’ve reached out to the person who added them and have asked them to stop, which they have. This does not appear to be malicious.


Any possibility you can auto-inactivate their taxa that haven’t grafted? It would be nice to be able to find imports that other people made and want to use.

1 Like

So hopefully the person working their way through musician’s names and song names today is not the same as you talked to yesterday @carrieseltzer

This is getting really annoying