Fossil information runs rampant on the web. Some sites are scholarly and may be over-the-head of the first-time or casual fossil collector, but plenty of sites exist for the young or intermediate student.
The scholarly sites often delve deeply into one fossil information topic. Dr. Sam Gon III’s site "The Orders of Trilobites" shares just about anything you would want to learn about trilobites. His site is easy to navigate because it links logical topics, but also because it has a long list of the topics covered on the home page. Elasmo.com "The Life and Times of Long Dead Sharks" covers sharks: fossil sharks, modern sharks, classification and disputed classification. This site is usable by the novice, but has enough depth to bring you back over and over again.
Sites like UCMP approach the fossil information topic from a broad perspective. Like fossils-facts-and-finds, they include fossil-related topics like geologic time and classification (phylogeny) of both fossil and modern species. Fossils-facts-and-finds’ target audience is teachers and pre-college students. The topics covered relate to both fossils and geologic time, but additionally include tips and lesson plans for sharing the information with students, and there are projects that students can do on their own.
Since fossil information is often needed by young students, there are sites geared toward short, quality information about specific species. Enchanted Learning gives a little information about LOTS of topics…not just fossils and dinosaurs. Their approach gives good starter information.
Watch out for “links-only” sites. These sites contain long lists of linked sites that MAY contain pertinent fossil information, but you can waste huge amounts of time following these links and never really find what you are looking for. (Of course, that’s what these sites WANT you to do, because for every click, they make money!)
Good niche directory sites, on the other hand, can be of great help. Bob’s Rock Shop has a good directory of fossil information sites because Bob has looked at the sites and puts a short note about the information you can find at each linked site.
Read the descriptions! With a little scrutiny, you’ll save yourself time, avoid the “no information” link sites, and get on to the business of getting REAL fossil information!
Find the sites mentioned in this article and other fossil information links at Education and Fossil Links Directory.