Gateway to the Paleobiology Database
North American Fossil Mammal Systematics Database
Online Systematics Archive 3

This is a Paleobiology Database Online Systematics Archive including classification, alpha taxonomy, and cheektooth measurement data concerning fossil mammals from the Cretaceous and Cenozoic of North America. The classification and synonymy data are intended to be as complete as possible, including all published opinions where known. The data accompany an extensive faunal occurrence data set with the same scope, formerly included in the North American Mammalian Paleofaunal Database.

Scientific goals

The synonymies have been used to correct the faunal data, which have formed the basis of a series of publications on diversity, extinction, taxonomic composition, and body mass trends. The faunal data formed the basis of a revision of the North American time scale (Alroy 2000). The cheektooth measurement data were used to compute the mass estimates employed in papers on body size (e.g., Alroy 2000). The synonymies themselves were used to estimate the proportion of species recognized today that eventually will prove to be invalid, which has ramififactions for diversity estimates (Alroy 2002) and body mass distributions (2003).


The original taxonomy data set was released on the World Wide Web using a different interface in December, 1996, and was uploaded into the Paleobiology Database in January, 2003. Revisions are ongoing. Alroy (1992) was the first publication using the data, which at that point only covered the Miocene. The early Paleogene data were first used by Wing et al. (1995). Alroy (1996) first used a version spanning the entire Cenozoic.

  • Alroy, J. 1992. Conjunction among taxonomic distributions and the Miocene mammalian biochronology of the Great Plains. Paleobiology 18(3):326-343. PDF
  • Wing, S. L., J. Alroy, and L. J. Hickey. 1995. Plant and mammal diversity in the Paleocene to early Eocene of the Bighorn Basin. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 115:117-155. PDF
  • Alroy, J. 1996. Constant extinction, constrained diversification, and uncoordinated stasis in North American mammals. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 127(1/4):285-311. PDF
  • Alroy, J. 2000. New methods for quantifying macroevolutionary patterns and processes. Paleobiology 26(4):707-733. PDF
  • Alroy, J. 2002. How many named species are valid? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99:3706-3711. PDF
  • Alroy, J. 2003. Taxonomic inflation and body mass distributions in North American fossil mammals. Journal of Mammalogy 84(2):431-443. PDF
Contact information

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

Download Alroy's data