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Paleontology Collections and Databases

Project Leader: Chris Clowes

Waitakian fossils from Haughs Quarry

A fossil assemblage from Haughs Quarry, South Canterbury, including molluscs, corals and brachiopods of Waitakian age (25.2-21.7 My). Photo: Marianna Terezow

This project aims to maintain and enhance GNS Science paleontological collections and databases to facilitate their use for national and international research and educational outreach. The National Paleontological Collection and Fossil Record File are identified as Nationally Significant Databases.

The National Paleontological Collection

The National Paleontological Collection (NPC) is an extensive repository of type, figured, reference and bulk fossil material from New Zealand and its surrounding area (including Antarctica). It also includes its associated digital catalogue and paper records. The collections are used primarily for research though some of the more interesting and spectacular specimens are on display at GNS Science and at Te Papa - The Museum of New Zealand.

The Fossil Record File

GNS Science, together with the Geoscience Society of New Zealand, jointly own and manage the New Zealand Fossil Record File (FRF). This is a register of fossil localities from New Zealand, its neighbouring islands and the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. The FRF was established as a paper file in 1946, and is a cataloguing system pioneered first in New Zealand. In 1970 an electronic database (FRED: fossil record electronic database) was set up to capture the data from the paper records.

Systematics Databases

These online databases are aimed at facilitating accurate identification of New Zealand fossil organisms. They provide illustrations, morphological descriptions, and classification information for key groups used for research into paleoclimate and geological history and exploration for natural resources. Further databases are in development.

New Zealand Stratigraphic Lexicon

This is a master inventory of formal stratigraphic names, providing basic geological age and location information, as well as an extensive annotated bibliography.

New Zealand Geological Timescale

A reference database of the ages of New Zealand chronostratigraphic units, providing base data for other GNS Science online systems.

See Outputs and Outcomes for our latest publications.