Ichnotaxa Database

This section is in the making and will take some more months to finish...


However, with a bit of additional internet research, you might already be able to find a name for your trace fossil! No matter if you are inexperienced or a professional ichnologist. The determination key is fully functional already and will allow you to find the correct ichnogenus for your fossil traces. The “fact pages” of the ichnogenera with diagnoses and a list of all related ichnospecies are in the making (which is what takes most of our time, we are only very few people to compile data of about 800 ichnotaxa!).

If you would like to join our Ichnotaxonomy-Database-Team, have some time at hand and access to a library, drop us a line and we will tell you what you can do in order to help us with this enormous project.

The Ichnotaxa Database Fact Pages were created with the help of Nadine Balk who spent hours in compiling the data reproduced herein.

The following pages will help you in determining trace fossils that you might have found. It is structured according to Dirk KNAUST’s  approach for grouping trace fossils on a morphological basis (Knaust 2012). This approach will help you to find the right name no matter if you have no ideas about trace fossils at all, a basic knowledge or if you are a professional ichnologist. Of course, you also can browse the ichnotaxa-database alpabethically at the bottom of this page.

The determination key for trace fossils by Knaust (2012) is based on several ichnotaxabases with descending importance. Ichnotaxobases are criteria typical for trace fossils in order to name them.

  1. What do you have? (Neither digestichnia, root or other plant traces, nor traces showing the behaviour of plants and insect interactions, etc. are [yet] part of this determination key.)
  2. When you follow the links above you will get to more questions that have to be answered in order to determine your trace fossil.
  3. If you are not able to find a name there are two possibilities: a) It is not in the database, yet... (This will make it very difficult for you to find a name for your trace fossil. Good luck!) or b) It might be new to science and undescribed. (In that case we would like you to answer the following questions/statements):
    • Is the trace fossil well preserved?
    • Did you search in museum’s collection and/or literature (includes internet) to find similar specimens? Did you find similar specimens?
    • Do you have more than one specimen?
    • Have you eliminated any diagenetic/taphonomic features present that could have altered your trace fossil’s appearance? (If there are any, try to eliminate them and try again to determine your trace fossil with the key above...)

    When you are completely sure that you have a new and undescribed trace fossil, please go on and describe this new trace fossil! (Send us a pdf when it’s published, so we can add it here! Thank you!) Please, follow the determination key published by Knaust (2012) and online here as well as the guideline published by Bertling et al. (2006) as closely as you possibly can to describe your new trace fossil.


The following letters will bring you to an alphabetical list of ichnogenera starting with the chosen letter.

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

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