A quarterly journal of The Paleontological Society

Paleobiology: Instructions for Contributors

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Please note that failure to follow these instructions will result in your manuscript being returned.

Submitting Your Manuscript

New Submission

All manuscripts are now submitted, reviewed, and managed via the AllenTrack on-line submission portal located at:

With few exceptions, all manuscripts submitted to Paleobiology are full-length research articles. These typically address a hypothesis or question of broad significance to the Paleobiology readership. Single-taxon focused or other studies of narrow scope are not typically published in Paleobiology. Papers in this latter category are frequently not sent out for review at the discretion of the editors. If you are unsure if your manuscript is suitable for consideration in Paleobiology, you are welcome to submit a pre-submission inquiry, which optimally would consist of a title page and abstract of your paper.

Manuscripts are typically no longer than 50 double-spaced manuscript pages (12-point font with one-inch margins), including text references, tables, and figures; most manuscripts are shorter than this limit. Longer manuscripts will normally require editors’ approval before submission. This limit should keep you under 20 printed pages; longer articles will be charged a mandatory page charge (see below). Tracked changes should be removed from review copies or resubmissions unless they were specifically requested by an editor or reviewer.

Long tables, particularly those with raw data, should be formatted for the Supplementary Materials (also see below), which will not be published with the printed version, but will be made available on-line via DRYAD (see below).

During your initial submission, you will be required to input some information in addition to your manuscript. It would be helpful if you assemble the following prior to working through the AllenTrack portal submission process:

  1. Your manuscript and all of its components. Use one file for the text, references, and figure captions. Do not embed figures and tables within the manuscript (AllenTrack will integrate these for you to make a review copy.) Use another file(s) for tables (or you may separate them), and a separate file for Supplemental Documents that will go on-line but not be published in your article.

  2. The addresses and contact information for each co-author.

  3. A suggested running head (<50 characters and spaces) and five key words that describe your article.

  4. An abstract of 250–300 words (different from the technical one in your article) written for the general public. This will be used to help provide information to the media, if requested.

  5. The names, institutions, and email of five suggested reviewers (required). You also have the option to list up to three persons whom you would not like to have as reviewers.

Revised Manuscript Submission after Review

After your manuscript has been reviewed, in most cases you will need to make revisions based on the input from the reviewers and editors. This is done through the AllenTrack portal.

Final Submission for Production

Your final submission will have all corrected and final files that will be used for production of your article. In addition to these, before your article will be placed into the production queue, you will need to:

  1. Complete the copyright release form;

  2. Complete the page charges form; and

  3. If you have Supplemental Documents, provide proof that you have uploaded these to DRYAD, located at:


Page Charges

Authors are requested to pay page charges at the rate of $100.00 per page. Authors with access to grant, institutional, or private funds are expected to pay these charges, which partially cover the expense of publishing their papers. However, papers are accepted for publication without such payments, and no author should be dissuaded from submitting a manuscript for lack of funds. Authors whose manuscripts exceed 20 printed pages will normally be expected to pay mandatory page charges for each page over and above 20.

Figure Charges

Authors submitting color figures must pay $250 per figure to be printed in color and $50 per figure to appear in color online only. A charge of $25 will be assessed for each figure substituted after proofs are produced.

Formatting Your Manuscript

For general questions about style and formatting of Paleobiology follow the Chicago Manual of Style, also available on-line at:

General Notes

  • Double-space the entire manuscript except tables in 12-point type; this includes text, abstract, Literature Cited, figure captions, and printed appendices except those in table format.

  • First line of every paragraph is indented.

  • Use only one space between sentences.

  • Avoid auto-formatting features such as heading styles in Word or automatic bulleting or numbering in lists.

  • Number all pages of the text beginning with the title page. In Microsoft Word, options for line numbering can be found by going to Page Layout; Line Numbers and Continuous. The name of the senior author should precede the page number in the top right-hand corner of each page.

  • Number all lines continuously on the version submitted for review.  In Microsoft Word, options for line numbering can be found by going to Document (under the Format menu) and choosing Layout.

  • Leave at least a one-inch margin on all sides of the pages.

  • Leave the right margin ragged (no right or full justification).

  • Do not break or hyphenate words at the right margin.

  • Organize the manuscript in the following order: title page, abstract, text, Literature Cited, appendix, figure captions, tables, and supplemental material (figures and tables).

Title Page

  • The first page of the manuscript should include the title, names of all authors, and running heads.

  • The title appears in boldface. Capitalize only the first word and any proper names (“sentence capitalization). Do not end the title with a period.

  • Full names of authors are placed below the title in capital and lowercase letters (e.g., James E. Smith, Toby Jones, and C. Alston Chase).

  • The running heads are below the authors' names. Running heads are not to exceed a total of 50 characters and spaces, and all letters are capitalized. The right running head (RRH) is the running title and the left running head (LRH) is the name or names of the authors. Use “et al.” for more than two authors.






  • An abstract must be provided, and should be no longer than 300 words.

  • The abstract should be on its own separate page(s).

  • Abstract” is italicized and followed by a period and an em-dash (Ctrl + Alt + hyphen). All lines are flush left.

  • The abstract is followed by the names and addresses of the authors, with the first line left-justified and any subsequent lines indented (use Hanging Indent function rather than tabs). Italicize all names and addresses.  Multiple authors from the same address should be listed with a single address. Do not use abbreviations (e.g., Dept., Ave.). Also include e-mail addresses. If an author has recently moved to a different address, please include the present address and mark with an asterisk. Edited manuscripts and proofs will be sent to the present e-mail address of the senior author unless the office is otherwise notified.

James P. McCalpin* and Stanley Kubrick. Department of Geology, Utah State University, Logan, Utah 84322, U.S.A. *Present address: Department of Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, U.S.A. E-mail:

Text Headings

There are three types of headings. If only two levels of headings are required, use primary and tertiary headings.

Primary Heading

Text follows after a blank line. Primary headings are centered and in boldface. The first word and all other important words in the heading are capitalized. Articles, conjunctions, and prepositions are in lowercase.

Secondary Heading

Text begins here, indented. Secondary headings are capitalized the same as primary headings and are flush with the left margin.

Tertiary Heading.—Tertiary headings are capitalized the same as primary headings, indented, italicized, and followed by a period and an em-dash. The text follows the dash without a space.

Details of Style

  • There should be no underlining in the text. Names of genera and species must be italicized.

  • Latin phrases are not italicized: a priori; gen. et sp. nov.; incertae sedis; in vivo; in vitro; M. supracoracoideus anterior; nomen dubium; per se; sensu; sensu lato; sensu stricto.

  • Use double quotes for all actual quotations as well as for terms or connotations: “true fossil record” versus “sampled fossil record.”

  • Always provide the page number for quotations: …as noted by Wilson (1977: p. 23).

  • Do not use an apostrophe with numbers or acronyms: 1920s not 1920’s; NALMAs not NALMA’s.

  • Commas and periods are placed inside quotation marks. Semicolons are placed outside.

  • e.g.” and “i.e.” are followed by a comma.

  • In a numbered series in running text, place numbers within parentheses; e.g., Explanations for this pattern include (1) high rainfall, (2) low temperature, and (3) increased predation.

  • Where nested parentheses are necessary, use brackets inside parentheses and braces inside brackets ([{}]). Note that the order is the reverse for equations {[()]}.

  • Footnotes are not allowed, except in tables.

Citations of References in Text

  • A one-to-one correspondence must exist between works cited in the text and listed in the Literature Cited section. Books or manuscripts in press may be included; if possible include the anticipated year of publication. Unpublished data and manuscripts in review or otherwise unpublished should not be cited. Avoid citing unpublished theses or dissertations.

  • The authors are responsible for the accuracy of all citations.

  • Literature is cited in the text in chronological order, by the last name of the author(s) and the date of publication. For works with three or more authors, the last name of the senior author is followed by “et al.”

  • Do not use a comma between the author and the date.

  • Use semicolons to separate multiple citations by different authors; use commas to separate multiple citations by the same author. Specific pages, tables, or figures within a reference should follow a colon after the reference year.

  • Provide a date (year) and initials plus surname for all personal communications.

  • Provide page numbers for quotations.

  • References to on-line resources in the text are allowable. The formatting in the text should be the same as other cited references (also see below on how to cite references in Literature Cited). For example: Paleobiology Database (2013).

(Darwin 1859)
(McCalpin et al. 1987: Fig. 2)
(Darwin 1859; McCalpin et al. 1987, 1989: pp. 22–24)
(Novotny and Borders 1988: p. 123)
(Greenwell in press)

(J. Johnson personal communication 1989)
(J. Jones and T. Freeman unpublished data)

(Jones [1968] discovered that …)

Citations of Figures, Tables, and Appendices in Text

  • All tables and figures must be cited in the text in order

  • Indicate placement of figures and tables by using the Comment feature (e.g., “Fig. 1 here”)

  • Capitalize the word “Figure,” “Table,” and “Appendix.”

  • Spell out “Figure” in running text but abbreviate as “Fig.” when citing a figure in parentheses.

  • Capitalize letter labels for figure parts A, B, etc. If there is only one Appendix, it is not numbered.

(Fig. 2A)

(Borders and Greenwell 1972: Table 1)

(Table 2, Fig. 3) [Note: tables are cited first.]

Numerals, Statistics, and Mathematical Equations

  • Avoid submitting mathematical equations and expressions as graphics. Instead use an editable program such as Equation Editor or MathType.

  • Spell out numbers one to ten unless used with units of measurement.  Use Arabic numerals for numbers and ordinals over 11 and for non-integers.  Use 10-4, 10-5, etc. for numbers less than 0.001.

  • Use commas for numbers greater than 9999.

  • Use italics where necessary. Indicate any italicized parts that may not be obvious with a highlight and comment.

  • Italicize the following: probability (p), mathematical variables, statistical test names (t-test; F-test), etc.

  • Greek characters are normal font, not italics.

  • Use metric units. If non-metric units are required, provide the metric equivalents also. m, meter; mm, millimeter; km, kilometer; μm, micron (not μ), micron or micrometer if spelled out; l, liter; ml, milliliter; g, gram (not gm); kg, kilogram; mg, milligram. Separate the unit from the numerical quantity by a space (e.g., 3.2 m, 0.5 g).

  • Separate mathematical symbols (e.g., +, <, =) with spaces before and after.

  • Do not use “naked” decimals (e.g., p < 0.05, not p < .05)

  • Equation” is spelled out and lowercase except when a capital would ordinarily be required. It is abbreviated when used in a parenthetical reference to an equation. Equation numbers are in parentheses, unless they appear in a parenthetical phrase.

Substituting q into equation (6) gives …

The theoretical whorl expansion value (eq. 2)…

  • Mathematical expressions and equations set out from the text should be written so that they can be set on one line, if possible.

  • Numbered equations should be centered on the line. Equation numbers should be on the right margin of text, with the numbers enclosed in parentheses.

  • Identify ambiguous characters; e.g., lower-case letter l versus numeral one, capital letter O versus  numeral zero, lowercase Greek chi versus lowercase letter x versus the multiplication symbol.

  • Use fractional exponents instead of root signs and the solidus (/) for fractions where possible.

  • Use ”ca.” with approximate dates. For other approximations with numerals, use the tilde (~30%) or spell out with words (approximately ten years).

Geologic Time

  • Be sure to differentiate between geologic dates and duration of time. Use the abbreviations Ga, Ma, and Ka to indicate dates (billions, millions, and thousands of years before the present, respectively). Use Gyr, Myr, and Kyr to indicate duration of time.

  • Upper” and “lower” refer to rock or time-stratigraphic units; “late” and “early” refer to time. Use lower case when the age constraints are not known, generalizations are made, or when no formal subdivision exists. Capitalize the names of formal time units or time-stratigraphic units. “Early/Lower Cretaceous” (for periods/systems), but “late/upper Miocene,” “early Paleozoic,” “early/lower Albian” (for informal subdivision of stage/age/epoch/series). Unless there are special circumstances, use Gradstein et al. 2005 (A geological time scale 2004. Cambridge University Press) or the ICS stratotypes ( as guides.

  • Use a slash (/) to denote boundaries, and an en-dash (–) to denote time ranges.

(K/T boundary)
(Eocene–Oligocene mammals)


  • Spell out all agency and university names.

  • Do not use honorifics such as Dr., Prof., Mrs., etc.

  • Use initials with spaces for given names of individuals.


  • Follow instructions for digital art on the Allen Press website:

  • Ensure that your figures meet the minimum acceptable resolution. Go to and log on with your email address and the password figcheck to upload your files and run them through the verification program.

  • Authors should assume that published figures will look exactly like the artwork submitted. Reducing or enlarging figures often maximizes rather than minimizes flaws in the original art.

  • Do not embed the figures in the text file. AllenTrack will compile a review copy of your manuscript in the ordered sequence that they are uploaded.

  • Please label each figure; make sure to label it where it can be cropped out.

  • Even if you provide properly sized figures, you must specify in the caption whether it should be one-column, two-column, or full-page landscape orientation. Maximum dimensions are 72 mm for one-column width, 148 mm for two-column width, and 148 × 215 mm for full-page. If you provide no instructions on sizing and request changes in figure size after proofs have been typeset, you will be charged for any changes.

  • All parts of a single figure should be on one page as you want them to appear. If necessary, figures with many figure parts can be organized for printing on two facing pages.

  • Use capital letters without parentheses or periods to label figure parts. Do not use boldface lettering. Use upper and lower case (rather than all upper case) and sans serif fonts. Be consistent within a figure and among comparable figures. The final size (after reduction or enlargement) of lettering on figures should be no less than 1.5 mm. Make sure your figures will be legible at printed size.

  • To ensure published figures will look the same as the submitted artwork the fonts must be embedded in the file.  When saving or exporting figures into PDF or EPS format look for settings that will embed the fonts.

  • Color figures (and photographs) may be published in Paleobiology at the mandatory cost to the author of $250 per figure.

  • Color figures may be printed grayscale but may appear online in color at a charge of $50 per figure. In this case, the captions should be exactly the same for both versions.

  • You must indicate whether color figures are to be color in print or only online.


  • Use Excel or Word; if the latter, use the “create table” option; do not use tab-and-space or submit tables as images; the copyeditor must be able to edit and format the table.

  • Place table captions directly above the table and on the same page.

  • Do not use vertical headings or vertical borders

  • Do not use parentheses around reference dates in the body of a table.

Literature Cited

General Rules

  • EndNote has created an output style for Paleobiology to assist in formatting your references, which is available for download from the Endnote website ( Please do not use Cite-While-You-Write in the final submitted files.

  • If using EndNote or a similar reference manager, make sure that the references are editable as free text in the final submitted copy.

  • Make first line flush, then using hanging indent for rest of citation. Do not use tabs.

  • All works cited in the text, tables, figure captions, and appendices must be included in the Literature Cited section.

  • Primary order of entries is strictly alphabetical by first author. Within this sort, single-author entries are grouped first, in chronological order. Secondary sort is by number of co-authors (two-author references, then references with 3+ authors). Two-author references are alphabetical by surname. References with 3+ authors are listed in chronological order.

  • Use a and b after year for citations by the same author(s) in a given year.

  • Use a long dash (three em-dashes) if all authors in the previous citation are repeated.

  • The names of authors are in capital and lowercase letters. Separate authors' initials by a space. Except for the first author, author initials precede surname.

Smith, J. L. 1989a.
———. 1989b.
———. 1990.
Smith, J. L., and J. P. Jones. 1983.
Smith, J. L., and T. Thompson. 1978a.

Smith, J. L., and T. Thompson. 1978b.

Smith, J. L., T. Freeman, and J. P. Jones, eds. 1977.

Smith, J. L., J. P. Barton, and T. Freeman. 1978.

———. 1981. [Note: same three authors]

Smith, J. L., C. A. Allen, and T. Freeman, eds. 1984.

  • Do not abbreviate the names of publications (journals, series)

  • Do not underline or italicize titles or volume numbers for periodicals and series.

  • Subtitles of articles or books are not capitalized after the colon but they are capitalized after a question mark.

  • Omit issue number unless each issue begins with page one: GSA Today 9(9):1–7.

  • Omit the leading article of journal names such as “The”: The American Midland Naturalist

  • Publishers' names:

  1. Abbreviate the names of publishers. Blackwell Scientific is an abbreviated form; Blackwell is the abbreviated form for Blackwell Publishing. Use Springer, not Springer-Verlag.

  2. Usually delete “Press” except for University presses. (Note: Academic Press, not Academic).

  3. If necessary, retain initials to distinguish among publishers

W. H. Freeman

J. Murray (Darwin's publisher)

  • Omit state names if the city is large and well known or if the state name is part of the publisher's name. Use traditional abbreviations of state names, not postal codes.


Springfield, Mass.

University of Wisconsin Press, Madison

  • Include country names, if needed, for location of publisher, e.g., Wiley, Chichester, U.K.

  • If three or more chapters of a book are cited, cite the book separately, and use an abbreviated citation of the book in the reference for the chapter.

Miller, A. I. 2000. Conversations about Phanerozoic global diversity. Pp. 53-73 in Erwin and Wing 2000.



Calm, I. M. 1974. Omnology has passed its peak. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. [Note: book titles are in sentence capitalization.]

Journal article:

Storm, E. C. 1974. Omnology at the crossroads. Journal of Omnology 22:1–44. [Note: no spaces after the colon.]

Article in books or large works:

Storm, E. C. 1974. Whither goest omnology? Pp. 33–44 in I. M. Calm and U. R. Nott, eds. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Smithson, A. B. 1995. Gymnosperm envy. Pp. 23–45 in C. D. Jones, ed. Advances in angiosperm psychology. Proceedings of the 24th international symposium on fossil plants. Geological Society of America, Boulder, Colo.

Article in a serial publication or a special publication with a volume citation (treat as if a journal):

Foote, M. 2001. Origination and extinction components of taxonomic diversity: general problems. In D. H. Erwin and S. L. Wing, eds. Deep time: Paleobiology's perspective. Paleobiology 26(Suppl. to No. 4):12–26.

Smithson, A. B. 1995. Gymnosperm envy. In C. D. Jones, ed. Advances in angiosperm psychology. Short Courses in Paleontology 6:23–45. Paleontological Society, Knoxville, Tenn.

Citing the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology:

Arkell, W. J., B. Kummel, and C. W. Wright. 1957. Mesozoic Ammonoidea. Pp. L80–L465 in W. J. Arkell et al. Mollusca 4, Cephalopoda, Ammonoidea. Part L of R. C. Moore, ed. Treatise on invertebrate paleontology. Geological Society of America, New York, and University of Kansas, Lawrence. [Note that later parts are published in Boulder, Colo.].

On-line reference (should include title, year (and date) accessed, and doi or hyperlinked URL:

PLoS ONE 6:e21295. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021295.

Paleobiology Database. 2013., accessed 4 October 2013.

Supplementary Materials

Additional material too long for publication in Paleobiology can be submitted as Supplementary Material to be available online. This material may include data (particularly long tables of raw data), tables, figures, appendices, or program code and will be reviewed along with the rest of the manuscript. These files are titled and referred to in the manuscript in sequence as Supplementary Table 1, Supplementary Table 2, etc. or Supplementary Figure 1, Supplementary Figure 2, etc. These files will be uploaded and made available via DRYAD at:

Revised 5 October 2013

Click here to download a printable Acrobat PDF version of this document.