Information for Authors

Instructions for Authors

Revised January 2008, December 2012


Bulletins of American Paleontology (ISSN 0007-5779), one of the oldest peer-reviewed paleontological journals in the world, seeks original, unpublished, high-quality monographs in paleontology or in neontological subjects that are strongly applicable to paleontological problems. Most contributions focus on systematics, placed in biostratigraphic, biogeographic, paleoecological, paleoenvironmental, and/or evolutionary contexts. Contributions on any taxon of any geologic age (including Recent) are welcome.

Two volumes are issued each year, each usually comprising a single monograph with ISBN number. The large quarto format (21.5 x 28 cm) is designed to accommodate longer monographs (> 100 printed pages) for which high quality photographic illustrations are required. The minimum size for manuscripts is 180 double line-spaced pages (including text, figure captions, references, and appendices) plus text-figures and plates. For calculation purposes, assume 3.6 double-spaced manuscript pages equivalent to one printed page. Shorter manuscripts are not normally considered for publication, because numerous other journals are available for such papers; authors of such manuscripts are encouraged to contact the editor to discuss options. Volumes containing a series of invited manuscripts (AKA multiauthored, proceedings, or contributed volumes) with a guest editor or editors are welcomed. Contact the Editor for details early in the planning stages.


(1) General. All manuscripts must be in English; an additional abstract in a second language can be included when appropriate to the content discussed. Authors whose native language is not English are encouraged to have their manuscripts read by a native English-speaking colleague before submission. Authors should follow the general recommendations in the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (University of Chicago Press) except as noted in this document. Nomenclature must be in agreement with the relevant International Code (e. g., ICZN 4th ed., 1999). Authorities and dates of each taxon must be provided when first mentioned in the text; citations for these references are not required in the Literature Cited. Metric system measurements should be used, alone or if necessary in addition to their English system equivalents. The location of voucher specimens must be indicated in the manuscript, preferably with catalog numbers for each specimen or lot. Deposition of type specimens in a recognized institutional or public collection is a requirement for publication of manuscripts in which new species-level taxa are described; authors are encouraged to consider Paleontological Research Institution as a repository for type and voucher specimens (see

(2) Format
. The manuscript should be prepared in Microsoft Word or some other widely used word processor (if in doubt, contact the Editor before submission). Sections should include, in this order:
Title, capitalized and centered, including higher taxa (in capitalized lower case, in parentheses) to provide context
Name(s) of all authors, centered, with superscripts to refer to addresses
Address(es) of all authors, centered, using superscripts to refer to names, with email address of the corresponding author. Indicate the corresponding author if other than the senior author.
Running title (capitalized, up to 40 characters, including spaces)
Abstract (maximum 400 words, concise but informative, including names of all new taxa, combinations, stratigraphic units, etc., but without literature citations)
Material and Methods
[Main Text] (variable between manuscripts, in one or more sections, e. g., Results, Systematics, etc.)
Acknowledgments (including sources of funding in support of the research or publication of the results)
Literature Cited. All references cited in the text (except for those solely as taxonomic authorities) must appear in the Literature Cited, and vice versa.
Text-figure captions (in full)
Plate captions
Tables (with captions)
Index (entries only, page numbers will be added in proof)
Note: The Table of Contents, List of Illustrations, and List of Tables, present in previous issues, have been eliminated.

The entire manuscript (including figure captions, tables, and index) should be formatted for U. S. letter-sized paper (8.5 x 11 in), page-numbered, left-justified, and (for submission) double-spaced. Use 12 pt font throughout. Genus and species names should be italicized throughout the manuscript.  Five hierarchical levels of section headings are routinely used:
HEADING #1 (bold, centered, all caps)
Heading #2 (bold, centered, small caps)
Heading #3 (bold, centered, first caps)
Heading #4.–(bold, flush left, italicized)
Heading #5.– (not bold, indented)
Variants of this heading system will be considered as long as consistency is maintained within the manuscript. The first paragraph of each new section is not indented; subsequent paragraphs should be indented 0.2 inch. See the following sections for other editorial and style conventions used in this journal.

(3) Illustrations and Tables
. High-quality illustrations have been a hallmark of Bulletins of American Paleontology since its inception and are expected of all manuscripts. All must be high resolution files in tif, eps, or pdf format. Line drawings must be at least 600 dpi at actual size; photographic figures must be at least 300 dpi at actual size. Authors should assure that all labelling in the illustrations is readable at actual size.

Text-figures.–Text-figures should be prepared as single column (82 mm or 3.25 in) or double column (178 mm or 7 in) width. They should preferably be prepared to be inserted in “portrait” format, however, larger text-figures can be inserted in “landscape” format, i.e., with the top or bottom of the figure near the spine of the journal. Figure captions must stand alone with minimum reference to the text, and all abbreviation definitions must be included in each caption. Scale bars (with caption explanation) or specimen dimensions in the caption are to be used; magnifications are no longer accepted due to today’s frequency of reductive reproduction by photocopy or digitization. Please indicate the intended final size (e. g., single column, double column, full page) for each text-figure in the caption (removed before printing), cover letter, or email to the Editor.

Plates.–Full-page photographic plates should be prepared with great care, with special attention given to contrast within individual images as well as composition of the plate as a whole. Plates can be prepared on either black or white background. Each figure on a plate should be designated by an Arabic numeral consistently placed (e. g., always at upper left of figure). Empty space among images should be minimized. Plates must be designed as full-page illustrations, 178 x 229 mm (7 x 9 inches). Plate captions should include taxonomic designation, repository, specimen number, and locality, as appropriate, and should stand alone with minimum reference to the text. As with text-figures, abbreviation definitions must be included in each caption, and scale bars or specimen dimensions should be provided.

Color illustrations.–Black-and-white (grayscale) illustrations should be generally used throughout. Color should be used sparingly and only as absolutely necessary to convey data. Color text-figures or plates should be prepared as CMYK files at minimum size and resolution as indicated above. The extra cost of color illustration will be borne by the author(s) without exception. Price will vary according to size and location within the manuscript (please contact the Editor in advance of submission); for planning purposes, the minimum charge for a single-column color text-figure is $250.

Tables.–Tables should be prepared one per page within the text file (grouped together at the end, before the Index), with the caption placed at the top of each table. Tables should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals; vertical lines and unnecessary horizontal lines should be avoided. Abbreviations should be used in tables as little as possible, and must be defined in each caption.


Initial submission is preferably as a single pdf file by email or by mail on CD/DVD, including text, all text-figures, and plates. Alternatively, native files (MS Word, tiff, etc.) on CD/DVD or hard copy (3 copies) will be accepted. Address submissions and questions regarding publication to: The Editor, Bulletins of American Paleontology, Paleontological Research Institution, 1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA, Voice: (607) 273-6623, ext. 20, Fax: (607) 273-6620, email publications@ Each manuscript will be peer-reviewed by at least two persons and the Editor. Suggestions of appropriate reviewers are welcomed from submitting authors. Reviews are anonymous unless the reviewer agrees to release his/her identity to the author(s).

Final submission after revision must be as electronic native (original, i.e., not pdf) files. The text should be reduced to single spaced. All text-figures and plates should be provided separately as high-resolution tif, eps, or pdf files (minimally at final actual size and 300 dpi); low-resolution images or those embedded in the text file are not acceptable.

Authors will receive 10 free copies of the issue plus a pdf version; authors of multiauthored volumes will receive one free copy of the issue plus a pdf version of their paper. Additional copies can be purchased by authors at 50% off the retail price for as long as supplies last.


Authors are asked to defray a portion of the costs of publication. These costs are assessed not as page charges, but rather on the basis of illustrations. The following cost schedule is in effect for black-and-white illustrations (see comments above for costs associated with color illustrations):

Plate (178 x 229mm or 7 x 9 in) $120.00
Text-figure, single column width (82 mm or 3.25 in),
up to half-page long (115 mm or 4.5 in)
Text-figure, single column width (82 mm or 3.25 in),
> half-page long (> 115 mm or 4.5 in)
Text-figure, double column width (178 mm or 7 in),
up to half-page long (115 mm or 4.5 in)
Text-figure, double column width (178 mm or 7 in),
> half-page long (> 115 mm or 4.5 in)

Although these charges can be waived on request under certain circumstances, it is expected that authors will seek institutional or other funding in support of continuation of Bulletins of American Paleontology. In addition, authors should expect to pay $2.00 per line for alterations to copy made at page-proof stage if such changes result in substantial shifts in layout. All charges will be invoiced after revision of the proofs.


Material and Methods.–This section should include any “philosophical considerations” (e. g., What is a fossil species of the group you are describing? How does this differ from an equivalent- level taxonomic entity of a related living organism, whatever that might be? What is your personal taxonomic philosophy?), details of method (e. g., approaches taken, assumptions made, computer programs or algorithms used, character codings and their justification, standard methods of measurement), any considerations of format (style and scope of synonymy used, a guide to the ensuing discussion, explanation of any non-standard terminology), and acronyms and locations of cited specimen repositories.

Systematics.–This section should include a full taxonomic summary to at least the class level at least once in the manuscript, including authorities and dates for all taxa. Taxa left in “open nomenclature” should follow the format advocated by Bengtson (1988, Palaeontology, 31: 223-227). Headings should follow the format given here (note capitalization and bolding):
Phylum BRACHIOPODA Dumeril, 1806
Order ORTHIDA Schuchert & Cooper, 1932
Family DALMANELLIDAE Schuchert, 1913
Genus LEVENEA Schuchert & Cooper, 1931
Type species.–Orthis subcarinata Hall, 1857

Synonymies should be in “short form”; i.e., not including titles. All references so cited must be included in Literature Cited. The following format should be used:

Pentagonia unisulcata (Conrad, 1841)
Pl. 6, Figs 7-13

Atrypa unisulcata
Conrad, 1841: 56.
Atrypa uniangulata Hall, 1861: 101.
Meristella? unisulcata (Conrad). Hall, 1862: 158, pl. 2, figs 17, 20-23 (not figs 19, 24-25).
Non Meristella unisulcata (Conrad). Nettleroth, 1889: 99, pl. 15, figs 9-16.
Pentagonia unisulcata (Conrad). Stauffer, 1915: 104, 245 (not pp 160, 171, 175, 234); Goldring, 1935: 148, figs 53B-D.

Section headings within systematic descriptions should be consistent for all taxa discussed. Suggested headings (below, or others, as long as consistent within the manuscript) should be in the following format:
Other material examined.–
Diagnosis.– (preferably written in telegraphic style)
Description.– (preferably written in telegraphic style)
When citing type specimens, indicate the kind of type (e. g., holotype, syntype), and provide repository acronym and catalog number. Provide catalog numbers for all figured, measured, and mentioned specimens (such specimens are hypotypes, even if they are not figured, and must be readily located by future investigators).

Literature Cited.–Spell out and italicize all journal and book titles in their entirety. Entries not published in the Roman alphabet must be presented in brackets as a Roman alphabet transliteration and/or English translation. Web pages can be cited in the text or as Literature Cited, in each case providing full URL address and date last accessed. Citation of papers not at least “in press” (accepted for publication) is not allowed; such information can be included in the text as “unpublished data” or “in prep.” The following formats should be used as examples of format:
Gardner, J. A. 1931. Relation of certain foreign faunas to Midway fauna of Texas. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 15: 149-160.
Gardner, J. A. 1935. The Midway group of Texas. University of Texas Bulletin 3301, 403 pp, 28 pls.
Bretsky, S. S. 1979. Recognition of ancestor-descendant relationships in invertebrate paleontology. Pp 113-164, in: Phylogenetic Analysis and Paleontology, J. Cracraft & N. Eldredge (eds), Columbia University Press, New York.
Emslie, S. D. In press. An early Irvingtonian avifauna from Leisey Shell Pit, Florida. Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Beerbower, J. 1968. Search for the Past: an Introduction to Paleontology, 2nd ed. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 512 pp.
Fretter, V., & A. Graham. 1962. British Prosobranch Molluscs. The Ray Society, London, 755 pp.
Allison, R. C. 1967. The Cenozoic Stratigraphy of Chiapas, Mexico, with Discussion of the Classification of the Turritellidae and Selected Mexican Representatives. Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Berkeley, 450 pp.
Allmon, W. D. 1987. Multiple modes of homeomorphy in Cenozoic turritellid gastropods and their evolutionary implications (abstract). Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, 19(7): 570.
Cox, L. 1960. General characteristics of Gastropoda. Pp I84-I169, in: Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, R. C. Moore (ed.), Part I, Mollusca 1, by J. B. Knight, et al. Geological Society of America and University of Kansas Press, Lawrence, Kansas.
Rosenberg, G. 2005. Malacolog 4.1.0: A Database of Western Atlantic Marine Mollusca, ver. 4.1.0., last accessed 25 October 2007.

Index.–Each issue includes an index. Content and construction of the index are the responsibility of the author(s). Index entries must be provided at submission; page numbers will be added by author(s) at the proof stage and returned with the proofs as an electronic file on disk or emailed to the Editor.

Other conventions.–
- New taxa should be abbreviated as "n. sp.", "n. gen.", “n. spp.”, etc.
- Spell out generic names at the beginning of a sentence and when used alone or with "sp." Generic and subgeneric names accompanied by species epithets can be abbreviated after being given in full within a paragraph and if there is no chance of confusion with other names in the paragraph.
- Supply authorities and dates for all species-level taxa in the following format: Xus yus Jones & Smith, 1998; Xus yus Jones in Smith, 1998; Xus yus Jones, Smith & Wallace, 1998. Citations for these references are not required in the Literature Cited unless included in a synonymy or specifically discussed in the narrative.
- Cite informal references with author, type of communication, and date (e. g., G. Wilson, pers. comm., 1985).
- Any quote of more than a word or phrase needs a page citation, e. g., Jones, 1935: 165.
- Formally proposed and accepted stratigraphic designations (e. g., Middle Eocene, Late Miocene) should be capitalized; do not capitalize informal designations (e. g., middle Pliocene, late Mesozoic, early Maastrichtian). Use care to distinguish between time and place modifiers, e. g., thickness of the Upper Jurassic, events occurring during the Late Jurassic.
- Use past tense for published or other previous work in the text (e. g., Conrad (1830) noted that...).
- When citing multi-authored papers or taxonomic authorities in the text, use “&” for two authors and "et al." for three or more authors. Multiple references cited in text parentheses should be cited in chronological order; references published in the same year should be cited alphabetically by author. Example: (Fischer, 1901; Jones, 1935, 1960; James et al., 1940; Able, 1955a, b; Peters, 1955; Smith & Randall, 1995).
- Spell out whole numbers zero through ten; write numbers 11 and above in Arabic numerals. Exceptions: spell out a number at the beginning of a sentence, and treat alike all similar numbers in connected groups or in the same sentence (i.e., do not use numerals for some and spell out others). Use Arabic numerals for all measurements, and decimals (not fractions) for all measurements < 1.
- Date format: 05 October 2007.
- Abbreviate the words Plate (as Pl.) and Text-figure (as Text-fig.) throughout the text. Such terms should have initial capital letters when referring to the present manuscript and should be in all lower case when referring to other literature.
- Spell out: twentieth century, two-fifths, third.
- Use standard unit abbreviations: km, m, cm, mm, mi, ft, yd.
- Italicize: incertae sedis, in situ, e. g., i. e., non, pro, sensu, aff., cf., et al. Do not italicize “cf.” or “aff.” when used within an italicized taxonomic name.
- Punctuation: use single space after period and semicolon. Use semicolon only to separate complete, but related, sentences.