Paleontology and Paleobotany

This page was written by Denny Capps as part of the DLESE Community Services Project: Integrating Research in Education.

Overview of ancient life in Yellowstone

Resources providing an overview of palentology and paleobotany in Yellowstone.
  • Nature and Science: Natural Features and Ecosystems. This Yellowstone National Park website gives a brief overview of how geologic characteristics form the foundation of the park's ecosystem. Yellowstone has a unique interplay between volcanic, hydrothermal, and glacial processes that exert control on the distribution of flora and fauna. Topics include summaries on geologic formations, glaciation, geothermal features, and volcanism. (more info)
  • The Yellowstone Paleontological Survey. The goal of this website is to increase the awareness of Yellowstone National Park's paleontological resources, and provide a framework for future research projects. In this report, information can be browsed by the section headings of introduction, stratigraphy, fossil chronology, taxonomy, localities, interpretation, paleontological resource management, research, collections and curation, paleontological resources near Yellowstone, bibliography, and appendices. (more info)
  • Yellowstone National Park. This brief summary of the geology of Yellowstone National Park includes a stratigraphic column for the northern portion of the park. The summary discusses Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic time, emphasizing the Cenozoic because most of the visible rocks and features in the park formed during this time. The stratigraphic column can be accessed as a Word or PDF file. ( This site is likely no longer available. )
  • Yellowstone National Park Online Slide File. This Yellowstone National Park website contains thousands of photographs of the Park. Images are organized by category including fire, thermal features, mammals, park structures, petrified trees, water, weather, scenics, and more. The photographs may be freely downloaded and more are being added through time. (more info)
  • Yellowstone Resources and Issues Guide - Astrobiology. This report explores the connection between geomicrobiology and astrobiology, explaining NASA's interest in the natural history of Yellowstone National Park. Multi-institution research teams are attempting to use Yellowstone's geothermal systems to understand how life began on Earth and how it could exist on other planetary bodies. Topics include the origin and evolution of life, and the current and future directions in the exploration for life elsewhere in the universe. (more info)


Resources describing Yellowstone's micropaleontology.
  • Microbiology in Yellowstone National Park. This site describes how Yellowstone National Park is a focal point for cutting-edge microbiology research and how it provides a valuable setting for outreach education. Topics include questions for park officials, extremophiles... (more info)

Additional Literature

Additional useful literatiure about Yellowstone.
  • Greater Yellowstone Bibliography. The Greater Yellowstone Bibliography is a database with over 28,900 bibliographic citations to scholarly, popular, professional, and creative literature about the greater Yellowstone region. It includes citations for journal, magazine, and newspaper articles, as well as books, book chapters, conference papers, government documents, theses, maps, CDs, and other materials. Citations can be searched by author, subject keyword, and geographic location. (more info)
  • Yellowstone Resources and Issues. This Yellowstone National Park online book is a compendium of concise information about the park's history, natural and cultural resources, issues, and major areas. Chapters, which are downloadable as PDF files, focus on the history of the park, the yellowstone ecosystem, geology, life in extreme heat (as in the hot springs), vegetation, fire in yellowstone, wildlife, and park issues. (more info)
  • Yellowstone Science. Yellowstone Science is a quarterly publication devoted to Yellowstone National Park's natural and cultural resources. It features articles about research in the park, provides a colloquium for scientists, and offers an opportunity for the public to view this research. Articles can be searched by topic, author, or volume and may be downloaded in PDF format. (more info)

For ideas on how to use these webpages in a classroom, a Study Guide is provided.