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The Fossil Record 2 by Benton, M. J. (editor) 1993. Chapman & Hall, London, 845 pp.
The Fossil Record 2 is a near-complete listing of the diversity of life through time, compiled at the level of the family. We have made the basic data available in various forms so you can download all or part of the listing, or search for particular families, orders, phyla. More interactive versions are currently being developed.

Introduction to the database
The family range data from The Fossil Record 2 (Benton, M. J., ed., Chapman & Hall, London, 845 pp.) were compiled in Excel by Dr Mary Benton. She has recorded all families, or family-surrogates (plesions, undivided orders, unassigned species and genera), one per line. Additional data on major suprafamilial assignments and broad habitat designations (marine, continental, littoral, etc.) are noted in columns 2-5. The recorded range of each family is then indicated in the subsequent columns 6-91, which correspond to the Hadean to Holocene time divisions used in The Fossil Record 2.

Each phylum, or class, is recorded independently in its own file, and these may be located on the contents page. There are two files for angiosperms since the stratigraphic range data have been recorded in several different ways. The file 'Angiosperms 1' is based on macroplant remains. The plant part that gives the oldest record is indicated in column 4. Where there is no fossil record, NFR is entered in column 92. Ranges in 'Angiosperms 1' begin with earliest mention in the Plant Fossil Record, and not with the earliest mention in the comments section in the text of The Fossil Record 2. The file 'Angiosperms 2' contains age evidence from macroplant remains and palynomorphs as well, based on data from Muller, given in The Fossil Record 2. Where some family pollens are identical to another, and cannot be exclusively identified, the age range of that which can be identified is included; e.g. Amaranthaceae is the same as Chenopodiaceae, so that the Muller first for Amaranthaceae is given as that for Chenopodiaceae, i.e. col. 77.

Spreadsheet key and conventions
Taxonomic assignments (columns 1-4)
  • Column 1 Family name
  • Column 2 Kingdom
  • Column 3 Phylum (with plants, take division as equivalent to phylum)
  • Column 4 Other
Habitat assignments (column 5)
  • F Freshwater
  • M Marine
  • T Terrestrial
  • B Brackish
  • L Lagoonal
  • V Volant
  • S Littoral
Combined habitats are built from these basic codes, e.g. LV is lagoonal, volant.

Stratigraphic assignments (columns 6-91)
  • 6 Hadean Precambrian
  • 7 Isuan
  • 8 Swazian
  • 9 Randian
  • 10 Huronian
  • 11 Animakean
  • 12 Riphean
  • 13 Sturtian
  • 14 Vendian
  • 15 Caerfai Cambrian Palaeozoic
  • 16 St David's
  • 17 Merioneth
  • 18 Tremadoc Ordovician
  • 19 Arenig
  • 20 Llanvirn
  • 21 Llandeilo
  • 22 Caradoc
  • 23 Ashgill
  • 24 Llandovery Silurian
  • 25 Wenlock
  • 26 Ludlow
  • 27 Pridoli
  • 28 Lochkovian Devonian
  • 29 Pragian
  • 30 Emsian
  • 31 Eifelian
  • 32 Givetian
  • 33 Frasnian
  • 34 Famennian
  • 35 Tournaisian Carboniferous
  • 36 Visean
  • 37 Serpukhovian
  • 38 Bashkirian
  • 39 Moscovian
  • 40 Kasimovian
  • 41 Gzelian
  • 42 Asselian Permian
  • 43 Sakmarian
  • 44 Artinskian
  • 45 Kungurian
  • 46 Ufimian
  • 47 Kazanian
  • 48 Tatarian
  • 49 Scythian Triassic Mesozoic
  • 50 Anisian
  • 51 Ladinian
  • 52 Carnian
  • 53 Norian
  • 54 Rhaetian
  • 55 Hettangian Jurassic
  • 56 Sinemurian
  • 57 Pliensbachian
  • 58 Toarcian
  • 59 Aalenian
  • 60 Bajocian
  • 61 Bathonian
  • 62 Callovian
  • 63 Oxfordian
  • 64 Kimmeridgian
  • 65 Portlandian
  • 66 Berriasian Cretaceous
  • 67 Valanginian
  • 68 Hauterivian
  • 69 Barremian
  • 70 Aptian
  • 71 Albian
  • 72 Cenomanian
  • 73 Turonian
  • 74 Coniacian
  • 75 Santonian
  • 76 Campanian
  • 77 Maastrichtian
  • 78 Danian Palaeogene Cainozoic
  • 79 Thanetian
  • 80 Ypresian
  • 81 Lutetian
  • 82 Bartonian
  • 83 Priabonian
  • 84 Rupelian
  • 85 Chattian
  • 86 Lower Miocene Neogene
  • 87 Middle Miocene
  • 88 Upper Miocene
  • 89 Pliocene
  • 90 Pleistocene Quaternary
  • 91 Holocene
Stratigraphic range conventions
The stratigraphic range of each family is entered on the worksheet, with the first appearance as F1, intermediate presence as 1, and last recorded appearance as L1, except when the range is to recent, in which case no L1 coding is used. Where first and last appearances are uncertain, ? is used, and the succeeding F1 value is shown as F2, and the preceding L1 value is shown as L2. These conventions are illustrated in the following example:

P Tr J

TAT SCY ANS LAD CRN NOR RHT HET
  1. F1 1 1 1 1 L1
  2. ?F F1 1 1 1 L1
  3. ?F ? F2 1 1 L1
  4. FL FL
  5. ?F ? ? ? ? ?L
Example Cases
  1. SCY-RHT
  2. SCY/ANS-RHT
  3. SCY/LAD-RHT
  4. Tr. (m.), i.e ANS/LAD, so both have FL.
  5. Tr.
In some cases, stages rather than epochs are given a stratigraphic coding, for example in the Devonian. In other cases, epochs rather than stages are coded, e.g. in the Carboniferous. In cases where ranges are expressed in stages and not in epochs, discretion is involved in the following way, e.g. if range begins ?PND, it is assigned to column 37, with no prefixed ? as PND is at the bottom of the SPK epoch. Were the range to begin with ?ALP, the last stage in the SPK epoch, then the range would begin ? in column 37.