Welcome to KU Ichnology!

Ichnology is the study of trace fossils, the record of microbe, plant, and animal behavior preserved in rocks. Ichnology (not to be confused with Ichthyology—the study of fish) is a major subdiscipline in the field of paleontology, which is concerned with the study of ancient life at large. Ichnology lies at the crossroads of paleontology, biology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, pedology, and geomorphology. Neoichnology—the study of modern and experimentally produced traces—has risen to prominence in both continental and marine sedimentary geology studies as it provides the modern analogs from which we gain insights as to the relationship between organisms, their structures, and their relationship to that specific environment.

Interest in ichnology has swelled over the past few decades as researchers have rediscovered the wealth of information pertaining to interpreting geologic history contained within trace fossils. Trace fossils are used to study the behavior of ancient organisms and the evolution of behaviors through time; scientists also use them to study the characteristics of ancient environments, hydrologic systems, ecological relationships, and climate change.

This website is dedicated to the presentation of the breadth of information available about this diverse field of scientific study. Here we present information on the basic principles of ichnology, a photo and video gallery of trace fossils, and a bibliography with access to some published articles for those with interests in specific topics. This website also serves as a showcase of the ichnologic research done here at KU by the IBGS research group. Keep checking in as we update this page with new information and new research!

We are currently looking for volunteer translators! Some ichnogenera have been published in other languages and unfortunately, we are not able to translate them. If you are able to read Spanish, French, Portuguese, or Hungarian, and have some basic knowledge of biology and geology, then we would be very happy if you can help us out!

For more information please contact us here