Gateway to the Paleobiology Database
Tetrapod Classification
Online Systematics Archive 2

This is a Paleobiology Database Online Systematics Archive including 5732 genera, 880 families, and 346 other higher taxa listed and classified by Carroll (1988). Carroll's published compendium does not include species. It does include junior synonyms of genera, but these were not uploaded. Carroll does not provide author and year information, which is being assembled from other sources. Vertebrates other than tetrapods are listed by Carroll, but also were omitted because the vertebrate paleontology working group, which entered the data, was doing research only on tetrapods; and because a list of marine non-tetrapod vertebrates is included in the Sepkoski Compendium.

Scientific goals

The classification was entered into the Paleobiology Database to provide a baseline list of genera and higher taxa, simply in order to facilitate basic operations like (say) downloading all the occurrences of a higher taxon. It is not intended for macroevolutionary analyses, and is expected to be superceded as more recent and authority-based classifications are entered.


Carroll's frequently non-phylogenetic classification is an extension of the one compiled and maintained by Romer (1933, 1945, 1966). The tetrapod data were uploaded in March, 2003. Because the classification is classified as second hand, meaning that all standard or authoritative references take precedent over it, Carroll's higher-order arrangement has been superceded in many cases. For example, his paraphyletic class Reptilia now includes the "class" Aves as a subgroup of Dinosauria, and excludes the "subclass" Synapsida, which itself now includes the class Mammalia. The "class" Osteichthyes is now an unranked clade including Amniota, and therefore Tetrapoda and its classes.

  • R. L. Carroll. 1988. Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W. H. Freeman, New York.
  • A. S. Romer. 1933. Vertebrate Paleontology. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • A. S. Romer. 1945. Vertebrate Paleontology, 2nd Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. ss.
  • A. S. Romer. 1966. Vertebrate Paleontology, 3rd Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. ss.
Contact information

John Alroy
Department of Biological Sciences
Macquarie University
Sydney, NSW 2109
phone: +61 2 9850 8185

Download Carroll's data