Skip to content Skip to navigation

Instructions to Authors (2012)


  • General points:
    • Page layout
    • Style
    • Roman numerals 
    • Abbreviations and contractions 
    • Measurements, numbers and symbols
    • Illustrations 
    • Locality and stratigraphic information 
    • Repositories for specimens
  • Structure of the manuscript:
    • 1. TITLE 
    • 2. AUTHOR(S) 
    • 3. ABSTRACT
    • 4. KEY WORDS 
    • 5. TEXT
      • Use of Headings
      • Citation of references 
      • Use of quotations 
      • Statistical notation 
      • References to figures and tables 
      • Lists 
      • Systematic Palaeontology
    • 9. REFERENCES 
    • 11. APPENDICES 

General points

Page layout

Double spacing and left-justification are required throughout a manuscript set out on an A4 page, with a minimum of 2.5 cm margins all around. Times New Roman 12 point font is recommended; other plain fonts are acceptable.


The written style should be simple and consistent. Footnotes are only allowed in Tables. Care should be taken to avoid long, complicated sentences and unusual words and phrases. Ideally papers should be read easily by those whose first language is not English.

Typescripts should be in British English; e.g. palaeo- (not paleo-). (b) Words ending in -ise should normally use –ize; e.g., synonymize (not synonymise). Exceptions include advertise, advise, comprise, expertise, precise, treatise.

All stratigraphic system and series names should follow the International Committee on Stratigraphy standard in conjunction with regional equivalents where appropriate. Regional schemes (including British ones) should not be used in isolation.

Italic type

Do not underline words that should be in italic; present them in italic face.

Words normally presented in italics but used in italicized headings should be in roman (e.g. Life of Homo sapiens).

Roman numerals

Roman numerals (I, II etc.) used to refer to figures and tables in previously published work should be transliterated into arabic numerals (1, 2 etc.).

Abbreviations and contractions

Abbreviations are shortened forms of words or phrases. The use of abbreviations should be minimized where possible. If a term is used infrequently, then introducing its abbreviation is unlikely to be necessary. Use of special or non-standard abbreviations in the text should be avoided. Use of abbreviations such as i.e. and e.g. is best avoided in running text and is more suitable for use inside parentheses.

Some abbreviations are so common that they do not need definition (e.g. DNA, SEM, TEM). All other abbreviations should be defined (term in full followed by abbreviation in parentheses) on first mention in the text, figure legends and table legends. Do not use abbreviations in titles or headings.

Most abbreviations are in lower case, such as ed., e.g., etc., fig., i.e., pers. comm., and are followed by a full stop. Exceptions include units of measurement such as m, km, g, ml, min; and on figures only sst, mdst, lst and Fm. Abbreviations comprised of two or more capital letters do not take full points, e.g. USA, UK and SEM; neither do acronyms such as NATO and contractions such as pls, figs, and Dr.

Measurements, numbers and symbols

All measurements should be in SI units and abbreviated when used with numerals but spelt in full when mentioned without: e.g. several metres but 6.2 m. Lengths, widths etc. should be given in nanometres (nm), micrometres (μm), millimetres (mm), metres (m) and kilometres (km). Centimetres (cm) are not SI units but continue to be widely used and are acceptable. Areas and volumes should be given with the appropriate superscript: i.e. km2, km3. All numbers up to ten and those that begin a sentence should be spelt out; for numbers above ten, use arabic numerals. The exception is when a range is referred to: e.g. 4–6 specimens (rather than four to six specimens). A space should be used to separate groups of three digits in numbers comprising four or more digits (e.g. 26 074, or 2 520). Fractions are written out (one-quarter, three-fifths) or expressed using decimal points, e.g. 0.25–0.75 μm. Greater and less than signs (> and <) may only accompany scaled measurements (e.g. > 40 m). Per cent (not percent) should normally be used rather than %, although exceptions may be made when percentages are noted on many occasions in descriptions of taxa or included within parentheses. The abbreviation c. (circa) should be used to indicate approximations of both dates and measurements. Ma and ka refer to millions and thousands of years ago, respectively (e.g. 76 Ma, 100 ka), and my, m.y. or myr (according to preference) for an interval of time (e.g. 12 million years: 12 myr).


These must be prepared so that they will fit within, and make full use of, the width of a full printed page (166 mm), two-thirds of a page (110 mm), or one column of text (80 mm). All illustrations are referred to as Figures (Palaeontology and Special Publications in Palaeontology no longer distinguishes between Text-figures and Plates). Large figures and tables should be prepared to fit consecutive pages. All should be arranged in the order in which they are cited in the paper; hence, reference to, for example, Figure 5 before Figure 3 should be avoided. The images on composite figures should be logically arranged as far as possible; aesthetic reasons may dictate otherwise: it is appreciated that differences in the sizes of individual components can cause difficulties in this respect.

Locality and stratigraphic information

Usually, both are required for any materials discussed. Either or both may not be available for material in existing collections. Less specific information may be appropriate if any threat to fossiliferous sites is suspected. It is often useful to include, especially for the general reader, a location map that summarize the geology and/or geography of the study region. All geographic names (including countries) and locality names mentioned in the text should be shown on the figure(s). An inset map, indicating the wider geographic context of the study area, may be useful. Ideally, labelling on these maps should be oriented horizontally, and an appropriate size. Figure lettering should be in a sans serif font such as Arial or Helvetica.

It is usually most appropriate for the locality map or maps to be framed by a border; avoid using an overly heavy line weight. Where appropriate, latitude and longitude should be indicated by incremental ticks and labels along this border. In addition, or solely on large scale maps, a scale bar in kilometres or metres, should be included.

Further information on specific stylistic points can be found online [link missing]

Repositories for specimens

Illustrated and type specimens and other materials of importance (e.g. key thin sections) must be permanently curated in a museum or institutional repository to which other researchers are ensured access. All must be assigned unique catalogue numbers. The status of additional material used must also be recorded. Catalogue numbers need to be recorded in the manuscript at the most appropriate point; this will usually be within the Systematic Palaeontology section and/or the figure captions.

Structure of the manuscript

Manuscripts are typically organized as follows: (1) title, (2) authors‘ names and addresses including institutions and e-mail addresses, (3) abstract, (4) key words, (5) text, (6) acknowledgements, (7) author contributions (optional), (8) statement regarding supporting information (if relevant), (9) references, (10) explanations of Figures and Tables, (11) appendix (if relevant). Detailed guidance is given below. Authors should consult issues ofPalaeontology published in the last twelve months and construct their papers in accordance with both the general format and the 'house style' described here.


The title should be short, informative to the general reader, and typed in sentence case (not all capitals). It should include the fossil group, age and general location, if these are appropriate, but not the names of new taxa, active verbs or abbreviations.


For author(s) the first and surname are given in full and any middle names denoted by initials. The name(s) of the author(s) should be typed in capitals. Lower case italic should be used for by and and (if there is more than one author). Postal and e-mail addresses follow below. Affiliations of authors should be noted by numbered superscripts. Authors may indicate more than one affiliation, for example if they currently hold positions in more than one department or institution. In cases where the work submitted was undertaken at a different institution to the one where the author is now based, both institutions may be listed and the current address indicated as below. If the senior author is not the, or not the sole, corresponding author this should be indicated as below.



1Institut für Geologie, Mineralogie und Paläontologie, Universität Berlin, Poppelsdorfer Schloß, 32456 Berlin, Germany; e-mails:,,

2Department of Environmental Biology, University of East Greenwick, College Green, London, UK; e-mail:

3Current address: Department of Geology, University of Georgia, College Square, Dublin 2, USA; e-mail:

*Corresponding authors


A concise abstract, usually a single paragraph, is required at the beginning of all papers (except Discussions and Replies). The heading, in bold and flush with the left-hand margin is followed by a colon (i.e. Abstract:) with text continuing on the same line. The abstract reaches a much wider audience than the paper or journal. It should summarize the main results and conclusions of the paper. It must mention the names of all new taxa. References to literature should be avoided. The abstract should not exceed 300 words.


The heading, in bold and flush with the left-hand margin, is followed by a colon (Key words:). Up to six individual words or phrases (e.g. formic acid) should normally be listed, separated by commas and ending with a full stop. They should be in lower case unless by convention they begin with a capital letter (e.g. echinoids, Echinoidea). The key words should not include any that appear in the title. The purpose of keywords is to assist indexing services.


The general structure should be as follows: introduction, geological setting, material and methods, results, discussion, conclusion(s). Ensure that content of separate sections e.g. ‘Results' and ‘Discussion' remains distinct.

The introduction does not have a heading. The first word (or first two words if the first is A or the paper begins with the name of a species and the genus to which it is attributed) should be in capital letters; for example 'ISOTOPIC signatures of bones, teeth and scales of fossils are…'. The main aims of the paper and its appeal to a general audience should be outlined in this section.

Use of headings

There are three orders of headings, all flush with the left-hand margin:

first order: CAPITAL LETTERS; in bold

second order: Lower case italic, with only the first letter in upper case unless it includes other words that by convention begin with a capital letter.;

third order: as second order, but followed by a full-stop with text continuing on the same line.

Citation of references

References should be cited by the author‘s name and the year of publication, without a comma in between unless authorship of a taxon is being indicated. If the article cited is by two authors, then both names are written (e.g. Smith and Brown 1984), but if there are three or more authors the citation should appear as Smith et al. (1984) unless ambiguity results. Parentheses are used as appropriate, e.g. 'referred to the genus OrthograptusLapworth, 1873, as discussed by Mitchell (1987).'

Consecutive references within the same brackets should be arranged chronologically and separated by a semicolon; for those by the same author, dates should be separated by commas, e.g. (Dickens 1963, 1965; Dickson et al. 1964).

References by an author that were published in the same year should be distinguished by the use of suffixes in italic font, e.g. Jones (1913ab; 1914ac).

Authors' surnames with prefixes should be given in full: e.g. d'Orbigny, von Huene. Note that in the reference list, papers by these authors should be listed under ORBIGNY, A. C. V. D. d' and HUENE, F. VON, respectively.

Exceptions to this rule, e.g. De la Beche (in the reference list as DE LA BECHE, H. T., not BECHE, H. T. DE LA), depend upon an author's country of origin and the nature of the prefix to the surname.

References in press (i.e. accepted for publication in their final form) are indicated as such (e.g. Owen in press) and must be included in the reference list at the end of the paper. Citations of papers in preparation (in prep.) may be mentioned in the text but should not be included in the list of references. Personal communications should be abbreviated to pers. comm. and accompanied by the relevant year, e.g. (D. Evans, pers. comm. 1994).

Reference in the text to the titles of publications should not be italicized: for example, the 'Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology', or simply the 'Treatise'.

Use of quotations

All quotations must be accompanied by a page reference. It is helpful to readers if pages are also noted when specific reference is made to a small part of a substantial work.

Statistical notation

The results of statistical tests should include the name of the test, the test statistic with associated degrees of freedom (d.f.; note that an F-distribution has TWO d.f. values) and the probability level (P). If data conform to all the assumptions of the statistical method used, precise P-values can be given, otherwise P-values should be >0.05, 0.05, 0.01 and 0.001.

For more details please refer to the following editorial:

WOOTTON, R. J. and CRAIG, J. F. 2011. Reporting statistical results.Journal of Fish Biology, 78, 697–699.

References to figures and tables

All illustrations in Palaeontology are only referred to as either Figures or Tables. All included should be specifically referred to in the text in numerical order; in the printed paper they will generally be positioned close to where first cited. Figures should be cited as Figure 2C–D (Fig. 2C–D), and Figures 4–6 or (Figs 4–6) respectively. Table is always spelt in full i.e. Table 1 and (Table 1).

Tables can be prepared in any package that is compatible with Word and Excel.

Lower case should be used for references to figures, text-figures, plates and tables in the papers of others: e.g. Jones (1978, text-fig. 5) or (Smith 1955, pl. 1, fig. 7); not (pl. 1, fig. 7 in Smith 1958).


In a list of items, each should be preceded by an arabic numeral, enclosed in brackets if part of the running text, e.g. (1), or flush with the left-hand margin and followed by a full-stop if each is to start on a new line, e.g. 1.

Systematic Palaeontology

Systematic work is always introduced by a first-order heading. The conventions of the journal regarding a marginal or a central position of a heading within a column of text, the order of the different sections, the format for synonymies, references to illustrations and other matters can be found in issues of Palaeontology published in the last twelve months. The example below covers the most common points that must be taken into account. Ensure that diagnoses, descriptions, discussions, interpretations and remarks are kept distinct.

The level of the highest taxon used is at the discretion of the author, but must always be accompanied by an authority and year of publication unless there is a specific reason for not doing so, in which case this should be stated.

Institutional abbreviations. The systematic palaeontology section should be preceded by a list of institutional abbreviations in alphabetical order separated by commas and semicolons, e.g. AMNH, American Museum of Natural History, New York; NHMUK, the Natural History Museum, London.

Synonymies. Synonymies must be presented precisely as written in the cited text; it should express the concept of the taxon in the view of the author(s). Additional information at the end of synonym entries may be enclosed in parentheses or brackets. It is necessary to note the pages of a reference in the synonymy list; all plates and figures should be cited. Rather than placing them at the end, non references should be inserted in chronological order within the list.

Nomenclature. The mandatory provisions of, and recommendations in, the current editions of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) and International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) must be followed unless there is good reason to do otherwise, in which case this should be justified. We do not at present publish papers that use the PhyloCode. Phylogenetic nomenclature is acceptable, including rank free suprageneric taxonomy. The generic name must be given in full at the first mention of a species. It may be abbreviated subsequently to the initial capital letter followed by a full stop unless confusion with another genus is likely or if the name is used at the start of a sentence. Short lists of taxa within the text should be arranged alphabetically according to genus and the species referred to each unless the reason for not doing so is either obvious to a non-specialist or explained. Standard abbreviations of the names of authors of extant taxa are acceptable but all those pertaining to fossils should be spelt in full. If two or more authors have the same surname, add initials, and if these are also the same, give distinguishing forenames. All authorities for taxa must be cited in full in the reference list.

Open nomenclature. The recommendations of Bengston (1988) should be followed.


Order PHACOPIDA Salter, 1864
Suborder CHEIRURINA Harrington and Leanza, 1957
Family ENCRINURIDAE Angelin, 1854
Subfamily ENCRINURINAE Angelin, 1854

Genus ENCRINURUS Emmrich, 1844

Type species. Entomostracites punctatus Wahlenberg, 1818; from the Wenlock of Gotland, Sweden.

Subgenus ENCRINURUS (ENCRINURUS) Emmrich, 1844

Type species. As for genus.

Encrinurus (Encrinurus) macrourus Schmidt, 1859 
Figures 4A–C, 5A–B

        1859 Encrinurus punctatus var. macrourus Schmidt, p. 438. 
        1941 Encrinurus punctatus (Wahlenberg) 1821 [sic]; Rosenstein, pl. 2, fig. 4–4b; text-fig. 4A. 
        1962 Encrinurus macrourus Schmidt; Tripp, p. 469 (pars), pl. 65, figs 1, 3–4 (non fig. 2); pl. 
                66, fig. 1ac; pl. 67, figs 2–4 (non fig. 1); pl. 68, figs 1, 3, ?9 (non fig. 2). 
        1972 Encrinurus (E.) cf. punctatus; Schrank, p. 38 (pars), pl. 11, fig. 4 (non figs 1–3, 5–7). 
non 1972 Encrinurus (E.) cf. punctatus macrourus Schmidt, 1859; Schrank, p. 42, pl. 12, figs 6, 7.

Note: as for the remainder of the manuscript, this should be presented double-spaced.

Headings in the systematic palaeontology section are usually third order and arranged as follows: Derivation of name (for new taxa; not Etymology); Type specimenHolotypeParatypesLectotype, etc., MaterialDiagnosis,DescriptionRemarks, and if applicable, OccurrenceDistribution or Stratigraphical range.

However, and most commonly for vertebrates and plants, the Description may be a second-order heading, with descriptions of the component parts of the fossil following third-order headings.


Acknowledgements are presented as a single paragraph preceded by a third order heading.


This section has a third order heading (Author contributions). The contribution of each author can be indicated briefly: refer to authors by their initials and, where possible, list, in turn, as per the author list.


An appendix or appendices containing supporting information can be submitted.

This may be published with the paper if it is short, typically as a single appendix. Alternatively, the appendix or appendices will be published online (as ‘Supporting Information') at the Wiley Online Library. Which of these two options is followed is at the Editor's discretion. Supporting Information may include details of methods, experimental procedures, as well as archiving data, including any character-taxon matrix used for cladistic analysis, or a complete faunal list. Any appendix that is published with the paper must be prepared in accordance with the Instructions to Authors. Authors are responsible for the preparation of online Supporting Information, which should be supplied in a format that will be most accessible by readers (e.g. Excel for tables, PDF or Word for text and TIFF/EPS for figures etc.). Supporting Information will be accessible by links from the online version ofPalaeontology. Reference to the existence of the Supporting Information is made as follows.


Additional Supporting Information can be found in the online version of this article:

Appendix S1. Character-taxon matrix used for cladistic analysis.

Appendix S2. Characters for phylogenetic analysis.

Please note: Wiley-Blackwell are not responsible for the content or functionality of any supporting materials supplied by the authors. Any queries (other than missing material) should be directed to the corresponding author for the article.


All publications cited in the text, including those pertaining to the authorship of all taxa, must be included in the reference list.

Each surname should be followed by initials; each initial should be separated by a space after the full-stop. Second and subsequent references to an author are replaced by a 3-em dash (unicode 2014), which may be indicated in the manuscript by 3 consecutive hyphens.

References are sorted alphabetically by first author, then by number of authors (one; two; three or more) then chronologically within one-author group, alphabetically within the two-author group, and chronologically within the three or more authors group.

If two or more references have the same first author and date, then use a and b in italic etc. after the date to distinguish them. Thus in the text refer to 'Smith et al. 1990ab'. Ensure such suffixes are used consistently throughout the text and between the text and references.

Titles in non-Latin alphabets can be translated rather than transliterated, and the original language stated in brackets at the end, e.g. [in Russian].

After the first word of all titles of articles and books capital letters are used only for proper nouns, all nouns in German, and terms that require them.

The format << >> and „ “ around certain words or phrases in some titles should be translated as ' '.

Titles of books are always in italics, but not those of theses. Journal titles are in italics except when the reference is to a paper within a thematic issue that has been given a title, in which case this is in italics, as for a book.

For books (including volumes containing collections of papers), publisher, place of publication and total number of pages should be given in that order after the title. If it is not the first edition, this should be indicated as, e.g. Third edition (not 3rd edition). For journals that do not have volume numbers, the year is given in bold type instead. Plate and figure numbers should not be noted.

All journal titles should be in full, and all words apart from a, the, et, und etc. should begin with an upper case letter. Memoirs, Bulletins, etc. should be listed either as Memoir of the..., Bulletin of the..., or as, e.g. American Association of Petroleum GeologistsMemoirGeological Survey of CanadaBulletin. Authors should use either one or other format, not both. Second or subsequent series of journals may be indicated in the form Second Series etc. An article that is in press should be given as, e.g. MARTIN, T. in press. If an author refers to himself as Junior or the Third etc., then the format should be SMITH, J. B. Jr 1997, or SMITH, J. B. III 1997.

All references should be checked carefully. They should be prepared with the original publication in hand. Incorrect entries are not only inconvenient to the reader but also cast doubt upon the general accuracy of the work. It also potentially comprises the inclusion of citations in databases. Papers noted as being in press must have been accepted for publication. References to unpublished theses and reports should be avoided unless it is essential to include them. Failure to prepare references professionally is a repeated reason why manuscript publication is delayed.

Reference to websites is not allowed unless they are archive repositories (e.g. GenBank).

Use of EndNote. The EndNote output style file ‘Palaeontology' is available online. Please be aware of the following. (1) in the case of citations of multiple papers by the same author in the same year (e.g. 2005a, 2005b) EndNote cannot italicize the letter automatically; this must be done manually. (2) EndNote does not have a field that allows the number of pages in a book to be specified, so this must be added manually to each reference cited.

Examples of references prepared in the correct format.


All illustrations in Palaeontology are only referred to as either Figures or Tables. Captions for each should be double-spaced, in journal style, and placed at the end of the typescript. They should be brief, and in a standard format. Each composite figure should have an introductory sentence preceding description of its parts. Collection (museum) numbers for specimens should be included. Magnifications should be indicated by scale bars on the figures; the scale may be indicated on the illustration itself or referred to in the caption.

FIG. 1. Generalized terrane map of the Canadian Cordillera.

FIG. 2. Key faunal elements from the Ghubbarah Formation. A–E, Tridacna evae Harzhauser and Mandic sp. nov. A–B, paratype, NHMUK 2006z0272/0003, internal mould of a left valve. A, external, and B, dorsoventral views. C–E, holotype NHMUK 2006z0272/0002, internal mould of a left valve. C, a silicone mould of the holotype showing hinge features. D, external, and E, dorsoventral views. All scale bars represent 10 mm, except C, 5 mm.

TABLE 1. Comparison of protaspides of the corynexochid species.

Note: The table legend should usually be treated as a title, and should stand on its own as a description of the content. Details about methods, statistics, abbreviations and specific parts of the table should be confined to footnotes, which are placed below the table by the typesetter.

A table presents numerical or factual information in a grid format. Tables are usually typeset or modified by the typesetter. The alignment of text and numbers in tables should be clear in the submitted version. If a table larger than one page is essential, it should be arranged to fit two or more consecutive pages; fold-outs cannot be accommodated.


In addition to their inclusion as Supporting Information we strongly encourage authors to lodge their data with appropriate repositories.

Phylogenetic appendices. Phylogenetic character lists and data matrices should normally be placed in the Appendix. Trees should be provided in NEWICK format and character matrices provided in NEXUS format.MorphoBankMorphDBase and TreeBase are examples of appropriate repositories for such data.

PalAss Go! URL: | Twitter: Share on Twitter | Facebook: Share on Facebook | Google+: Share on Google+