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Website by:
Arja Hokkanen
Gudrun Evans

Maintained by:
Gudrun Evans
Jussi Eronen
Mikael Fortelius
Susanna Sova
Laura Säilä

Updated 24 May 2013

New and Old Worlds

Database of fossil mammals


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The NOW (New and Old Worlds) fossil mammal database contains information mainly about Eurasian Miocene to Pleistocene land mammal taxa and localities. The emphasis of the database has been on the European Miocene and Pliocene but African localities are currently being added and updated, and North American localities will also be visible to the public in 2014. The temporal scale is also currently becoming wider, with both Pleistocene and Paleogene localities being added into the database. The NOW database is maintained and coordinated at the University of Helsinki by Mikael Fortelius in collaboration with an international advisory board.

NOW data

The nucleus of the database is a locality table and a species table, relationally linked by means of a locality-species correlation table (in essence, a table of localities and their faunal lists). Additions and updates are tied to references. The aim of the database is that each species (including higher taxa such as "Machairodontini indet. large sp." or "Rhinocerotidae indet. indet.") is given certain attributes describing anatomy and inferred diet, locomotion and other properties. Similarly, the geographic location, age, stratigraphy, lithology, taphonomy and environmental interpretation of each locality is described to the extent that these are known. It is also worth noting that not all datasets that have been added to NOW are of equal quality, and users should be aware of this fact. Revision of the data by NOW advisory board members and all users is an ongoing process and an integral part of the NOW project.


A workshop organised by Ray Bernor, Volker Fahlbusch and Siegfried Rietschel in 1992 at Schloss Reisensburg in Bavaria, Germany was the starting point in the development of NOW. Participants in the workshop had been requested to compile revised lists of taxa and localities, to provide a database for later distribution within the group. The purpose of the workshop was to review the evidence for provinciality and diachrony of change between Central Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean realm during the Middle and Late Miocene. A main source of coordinated data input and revision was the European Science Foundation Network on Hominoid Evolution and Environmental Change in the Neogene of Europe (1995–1998). For most of its existence, the acronym NOW has been derived from the words "Neogene of the Old World" but as NOW has since expanded to cover most of the Eurasian continent for the post-Oligocene (ca 25–0.01 million years ago), and is still expanding in both temporal and geographic scale, the words behind the acronym were officially changed to "New and Old Worlds" in early 2012.


The NOW Database should be cited as follows: Fortelius, M. (coordinator) [year]. New and Old Worlds Database of Fossil Mammals (NOW). University of Helsinki.

In published research using NOW data, please indicate which version of the database was used. For example, "NOW public release 030717" or "dataset downloaded Dec. 1, 2005".

Database software

The PHP-based user interface was planned and developed mainly by Gudrun Evans, who also created the previous one, and finished by Mr. Jouni Vepsäläinen of Enporia Ltd.