Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

The treatise on invertebrate paleontology -our contribution to an international project on fossil diversity

Over fifty years ago the leading American palaeontologist Raymond C. Moore, of the University of Kansas, initiated an international project to summarise our knowledge of all fossil invertebrate animals throughout the world. It was planned to be a series of 23 volumes under the title of The Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology. The first editions of the majority of these have been published and they have long become the international standard reference for invertebrate palaeontology. Such has been the increase in knowledge of some fossil groups that second editions have since been published, are under preparation or are planned. Each part is co-ordinated by an acknowledged expert in the field, who invites a team of international specialists to contribute.

Preparatory work for each volume normally takes many years for groundwork research, which involves the study and interpretation of large numbers of specimens from many museum, university and geological survey collections worldwide, commonly in collaboration with colleagues from Britain and overseas. The detailed results are published in learned journals, but for the Treatise the requirements are a concise definition of each genus, with photographic illustrations of the type specimen of its type species. Thus the publication represents the culmination of years of focused, collaborative background research by scientists from many organisations.

Through our involvement in primary palaeontological research, staff in the Department of Geology have gained experience and expertise such that since the early 1980s we have been invited to join teams preparing the revised Treatise volumes on brachiopods, bryozoans and trilobites. The latest editions of the Treatise now include Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales as a major repository, with our specimens being illustrated and referred to. This marks us as a centre of excellence for palaeontological research, holding collections of international significance.

The Treatise projects which are currently being worked on are listed below: