PaleoDB

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This page overviews the web services provided by the Paleobiology Database.

Data

The Paleobiology primarily records fossil occurrences (a organism [or distinctive part of an organism] found at a point in space and time). As a result we are also a rich source of taxonomic, stratigraphic, geologic and geochronological data.

IT infrastructure

The paleobiology database is served using Apache/MySQL/Perl. We have on occasion granted direct MySQL access over ssh tunnels, but the vast majority of access is through the web interface.

The primary server is: http://paleodb.org/ Mirror servers: http://paleodb.geology.wisc.edu/, http://mfnpaleo.paleodatabase.de/ Mirrors should be synced every day based on database dumps created ~ midnight pacific time.

Web service summary

We use the Species 2000 Catalogue of Life XML format (http://webservice.catalogueoflife.org/annual-checklist/) to provide a standard HTTP GET API for providing taxonomic information.

You can call the web service with URL like this: http://paleodb.org/cgi-bin/bridge.pl?action=getTaxonomyXML&name=Argopecten&response=full

Where "Argopecten" can be any taxonomic name. An asterisk is used for wild card matching as in "Argo*". Binomial are indicated with a plus sign as in "Argopecten+levicostatus".

example of "full" vs. "terse":

an example where synonym is returned:

Requests

  • Date of first occurrence in the fossil record via a web service API.
  • Return list of nested taxa via a web service API (e.g., return the species in a specified genus, or genera in a specified family).