Should we add paleontology content like observations and taxonomy?
some previous discussions may be relevant here:
Or maybe use the Rockd app as recommended here: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/where-to-post-non-life-observations-wiki/2040
You can add whatever you like, so long as it follows the community guidelines (https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/community+guidelines), but the creation of extinct taxa is generally cautioned against due to how they disrupt taxonomy and often are not corroborated by our sources for taxonomy. Most often, users will upload an observation with the most specific ID fitting their observed fossil, but will be unable to ID it to species.
However, species believed to have become extinct more recently, such as Thismia kobensis, are useful and valuable as modern entities, and can exist without issue in our taxonomy. In this case, the species was announced rediscovered on Monday. We may have hope for Thismia americana!
I’ve long wished for a paleontology portal of iNaturalist, but always get deferred to these other sites that leave much to be desired. The main issues seem to come in with how to add them to the taxonomic trees without creating lots of issues and the possibility of poachers getting your location data. I still think it would be a worthwhile investment however, and should be looked into further.
Rockd and myFossil are not very helpful for the serious paleontologist and are pretty user unfriendly.
Although it is still in its infancy now, perhaps the Virtual Natural History Museum might eventually expand to cover this concern: https://www.palaeocast.com/vnhm/
There’s also the issue of fossil poaching, which is a massive problem already.
If a paleontology aspect was added to iNat it would need every observation to be obscured, and likely at a much wider obscuring level than is currently used.
Check out this topic I made previously : https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/useful-casual-observations-being-hidden-by-other-low-grade-casual-observations/36089
Although we do not have a fossil section of iNaturalist, we can always add Observation Field of Fossil (yes or no, so click yes), and with that, we can gather fossil observations using projects. I think this is the best we can do, since in general iNat do not encourage people to post fossils.
Also, when you post or see fossil observations, please make sure to mark “Evidence of recent organism” section in Data Quality Assignment as “No”, so we can make sure that fossils do not appear on distribution maps.
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