A 'type' is a specimen (or a group of specimens) of an organism to which the scientific name of that organism is formally attached. In other words, it is the example that defines the features of a particular organism.
In the UK, fossil type specimens are stored in a number of locations across the country, and there is no easy way for researchers to search across these multiple different catalogues.
The GB3D Type Fossils Online project, funded by JISC, aims to develop a single database of the type specimens, held in British collections, of macrofossil species and subspecies found in the UK, including links to photographs (including 'anaglyph' stereo pairs) and a selection of 3D digital models.
The database covers macrofossil species held in British collections, and where the species are found in the UK. We are now also happy to consider the inclusion of the types of any other macrofossils.
The 3D digital models may be viewed and/or downloaded in various formats. PLY format models may be downloaded and viewed using Meshlab or SpiersView software. OBJ format models may be downloaded and viewed using Meshlab, or viewed online in some web browsers.
High resolution photographs
Photographs (typically up to 4368 x 2912 pixels) are held in JPEG2000 (JP2) format and may be viewed using the JP2 viewer or downloaded. If you work with downloaded files you may need to download a JP2 viewer such as ER Viewer. In most cases, the whole piece of rock containing the fossil has been photographed, together with magnified images of the individual fossils. Any labels have also been photographed to show original recorded details and handwriting. Most fossils have been illuminated from the north-west, and where possible, photographed in the standard accepted orientations.
Stereo (anaglyph) photographs
In most cases, specimens have also been photographed as stereo pairs, using a see-saw apparatus dipping 4° from the horizontal on either side. They have been combined into red/cyan anaglyphs and must be viewed through red/cyan glasses.
Metadata (locality, age, taxonomic identification, registration number, etc.) is taken from the holding institution's own database. Each use their own standards, and when combined may produce some inconsistencies.
Queries about individual specimens, and in particular requests to view specimens, should be addressed directly to the appropriate holding institution named against the specimen on the database. General queries about the GB/3D Type Fossils Online project should be emailed to the project manager, Dr Mike Howe.
When a single specimen is clearly designated in the original description, this specimen is known as the holotype of that species.
Any additional specimen other than the holotype, listed in the type series, where the original description designated a holotype. These are not name-bearing types.
A specimen later selected to serve as the single type specimen when an original holotype has been lost or destroyed, or where the original author never cited a specimen.
Any of two or more specimens listed in a species description where a holotype was not designated; most are gradually being replaced by lectotypes. Those that still exist are still considered name-bearing types.
A specimen later selected to serve as the single type specimen for species originally described from a set of syntypes.
Any additional specimen from among a set of syntypes, after a lectotype has been designated from among them. These are not name-bearing types.
A specimen of a species not of the original type series collected at the type locality.
A specimen that is a duplicate of a holotype.
A specimen that could be one or more of the above types.
We currently do not have the type of this specimen.
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