What is your oldest observation

One of the nice things about iNaturalist is that it can be retroactive; the site policy states that “recent” evidence means evidence from within the past 100 years. Now obviously iNaturalist did not exist 100 years ago (I hear the WiFi speed was lousy back in 1921), so that means you can upload pictures from before there was an iNat.

As of now, my oldest observation on here is this land snail that I observed in 內灣 (Neiwan), Taiwan back in 2000 – 21 years ago. Now that I have brought my photo archive out of storage, there will soon be even older ones.

How old is your oldest observation on iNaturalist?


A cheating one from November 1996
Normal one https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36928159 from April 2008, my only time in a foreign country, and a trip to beautiful place that I found really boring, as we had to ride through desert and it was nothing but sand, then there was sea, same as near our hotel, it just was under ground for some reason, I liked those bushes with salt on their leaves, but it was really it, I definitely would see place like this differently now, then we visited reef which was ok, corals and stuff, but food was unedible.


Mid 1980s, slide photos that aren’t too terrible and that I’ve digitized.

This is one of the oldest I’ve submitted to iNat:

My problem with old slide or print photos is that I didn’t always properly label them with date and detailed location or didn’t include that info in my field notes. This was in the days before GPS. So providing the correct date/location is a challenge and in some cases impossible.

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I haven’t had access to any of my pre-digital photos, so at present the earliest one I have is this Northern California Black Walnut from November 2002


I’d just gotten by first digital camera (a Canon ELPH - super small and really durable) and was testing it out.

If I ever get back to my old prints and negatives (all in storage in a different country right now), I’d have some observations from the early 90s as my earliest ones… maybe from the 70s and 80s if I used photos that I didn’t take but that I’m in from family photos.


This siberian newt (Salamandrella keyserlingii) and Field Frog (Rana arvalis) from the mid 90th. It was the ecological school expedition to one nice place. Here were many interesting things but of course nothing was documented with photos.


Goodness - all you old people with observations from 20+ years ago! My oldest so far (though I have a few with incorrect dates that I haven’t uploaded) is this crocus from 2015. At that point I was 7 years old, using my first camera, which was a GE A735 digital camera. Back then I usually photographed cars, people and birds (mostly blurry photos of juncos and gulls), and I had no sense of quality whatsoever.


This bad picture of a common orbweaver spider I took at a junkyard with my first digital camera (an Olympus Camedia C100 - 1.3 Megapixels!!). Before BugGuide, before iNat, and long before I started taking photos of spiders as a hobby, or was even particularly interested in them :) Some time after I found iNat, I remembered that old photo and was able to dig it up out of my archive.



I had not thought of it, what a fun question! Mine is Red Sand Verbena from a trip to Baja California in 2006. I didn’t even have a digital camera - my then-boyfriend (now husband) had one from work. And if the relationship hadn’t worked out, I probably wouldn’t have the photo…

Like others, I hope to get some earlier ones from my printed photos sometime, although location information will be dicey. Biiiiiiiiig accuracy radii, I guess.


From an old guy’s perspective: if your oldest photos were taken on a digital camera during the 21st century, they’re not old. Just sayin’.


My oldest photo here is of a mule deer in Bozeman, Montana, April 9, 1995. Memorable in all senses. This was one of my first photos with an acceptable quality film and acceptable quality of paper photo print. Prior to that it was Soviet era with horrible films and no printing services and only occassional grab of eastern German slide films (of these slides I had several boxes but eventually threw them away).


These from May 1980 are likely to remain my earliest observations (unless something from 1979 turns up…), from when I was first discovering Botany in college. But I ain’t feelin’ old yet…!

Lots more scans to process and fill in between then and 2008 when I finally went digital, but at least I’ve gotten a start.


From 2002. Mine is kind of cheating. I was going through family photos and saw there were plants behind me so I added 3 observations trying to identify some of them even though I probably won’t know the exact plant for majority of them.

This was the only one I felt confident with but it could be wrong still.


The late great Greg Lasley posted some of his old pics that go back to the 1960s when he was a teenage nature nerd.

One example from 1967: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/836690


The oldest observation I have here is this moth taken back in 2004, however I suspect my mother was the actual photographer here. The majority of my old observations were photos taken by my parents, so I guess its sort of cheating.

The oldest one I seem to remember clearly was this huntsman spider taken in 2012 during a school trip.

And for general interest this was the first observation I added when I made my account.

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Oldest observations I’ve added to iNat is this lizard and this damselfly from a trip to Crotia in 2004, both shot on slide film.

First observation I ever uploaded to iNat is this Sea Otter from 2008 (observation 667!), shot on a Nikon D80.


The oldest observations I published are these 4 obs. in La Réunion, a french island in the Indian Ocean: 3 wild orchids and 1 very invasive ‘Butterfly Ginger’.

One of the oldest ever observation of a live organism on iNat is this bird in 1961.

Older observations are dead animals/plants, starting in 1801.



This was my first obs and I did not know anything about how iNat works. I did not know IDing was collaborative. So, I kept arguing with these mysterious strangers who told me my ID was wrong.

Someday, I May go back and upload a few of the many, many wildflowers pictures I took.


My oldest are Adelie Penguins in Antarctica in 1987: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/100800216
I spent 6 weeks in McMurdo, a fascinating trip.


I’ve always wanted to go there. Unfortunately there’s not much of a demand for musicians there so I haven’t really had an opportunity or reason.


Album promo? Film a music video there? I guess it would be super expensive …

Hmm what’s the most well known band that’s played in Antarctica?