Wiki Prehistorica

Wiki Prehistorica:About

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The Wiki Prehistorica is a wiki about prehistory and paleontology that anyone can edit.

What makes us different from other wikis?

There are many other wikis about fossils, dinosaurs, and paleontology out there. Why does the Wiki Prehistorica stand apart from those other sites?

  • We hold on. Most of the other paleontological wikis out there are dead and/or inactive. We may never know why, especially because many are very good and well-written wikis. But some people just don't have the time or the perseverance to keep editing or maintaning sites. Wiki Prehistorica, on the other hand, is a stubborn little dinosaur that just won't go extinct. We have been providing information about prehistory since November 16, 2010, and we're still going. Editors have come and gone, and to be honest there have been a few large pauses in activity. But we always come back, no matter the circumstances.
  • We're not a Wikipedia copycat. Seeing a wiki in which almost all of its articles are copy-pasted from Wikipedia is unfortunately very common. If you want to read an article which has Wikipedia's text, why not just go read that Wikipedia article? On the Wiki Prehistorica, not one of our articles is copy-pasted from Wikipedia. We start each and every one of our articles with our own text, from scratch.
  • We cite our sources. Out of all the paleontology wikis, there are perhaps only two or three that are not Wikipedia copy-pastes and source their content. One of those is us. The Wiki Prehistorica is adamant about sourcing each and every article that we create.
  • We add a little pizzazz. Paleontologists as a whole are thought to be boring old people who scratch about in the dirt all day and speak in dull, monotone voices. Even though they're not, paleontology wikis give the same impression. The Wiki Prehistorica is not strictly an informational source: in addition, we add a bit of zest for our users. At the current time we are planning to add special forums and namespaces to be used for interacting with each other and sharing our uncommon traits in common. The Speculation forum allows us to unwind a bit and spout forth theories of our own that would not be allowed on conventional, information-based wikis. A planned Fossil Hunting Hub will give tips of the trade, stories of excavations, and a place to share your collections with the community. Paleontology is one of the most exciting jobs on Earth---so let's show the Earth exactly that!

What do we cover?

Prehistory and paleontology is often thought to be a study of dinosaurs, and not much else. That isn't right. It is much more diverse and can indirectly cover all science to some extent.

The Wiki Prehistorica is much the same. We don't just make pages about dinosaurs---far from it. We cover and make articles about prehistoric animals, plants, oceans, and geographical features, fossils themselves, paleontologists, prehistoric theories and queries, paleobiology, paleoecology, evolution---everything and anything that is of note to the field.

What defines prehistory?

Technically, prehistory is all time that spanned before written human history. At first, the definition seems simple and clean enough.

However, the world does not run in straight lines. It's human nature to pigeon-hole things into simple boxes, but in reality this is far from perfect. Species evolve into other species, sediments don't get laid down the way they're supposed to, and boundaries get blurred. Indeed, writing about a modern-day event in a wiki about prehistory seems rather far-fetched.

As a result, there are exceptions to the written-history rule. On the Wiki Prehistorica, any extinct animal or plant can receive its own article. As some notable icons often associated with the prehistoric in fact existed during written human history (such as the dodo), the wiki might seem incomplete without them. The thylacine, quagga, and passenger pigeon can all receive their own article.

What if a species once thought extinct gets rediscovered? Is the article deleted? Surprisingly, no! The species has just become a living fossil. Many living fossils such as the ginkgo and coelocanth were present in the deep past, yet have survived to the present day. These are an important part of past history as well, and there is no reason to not feature them here.


Early history

The Wiki Prehistorica was founded on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 by Styracosaurus Rider. At the time, he was a rather new Wikia user, and had already begun to start a fair amount of editing on the Jurassic Park Wiki among others. Soon, he met up with Toothless99 (now known as Toothless100) and Disney14ph12 on the now-inactive Walking with Dinosaurs Wiki to point out a problem. There were many wikis pertaining to dinosaurs, fossils, and paleontology (such as the still-active Dinopedia, the Dinosaur Wiki, and the Fossil Wiki) in existence, but they all had some common features. They either focused on one particular topic, had been abandoned by their staff, or were mostly copy-pasted from Wikipedia.

With that in mind, Styracosaurus Rider created the Wiki Prehistorica in order to have a wiki that had information on all aspects of paleontology and prehistory, with original article text. Toothless99 was selected as an additional administrator and bureaucrat, and he created the wiki's first article, Quagga.

The wiki grew exponentially over the next couple of weeks, reaching the 50th article (Darwinius) in exactly a month. The staff soon went about customizing the wiki with new templates and a unique theme design. There were still only three users editing (plus a particularly bold anonymous user who is known somewhat infamously across Wikia as Jurassic Park Treasury, from his account he later created), but they were confident that the wiki would eventually gain more editors.

And then, at the end of December, activity dramatically decreased, and almost came to a standstill. Styracosaurus Rider made edits every now and then, but the rest of the wiki's userbase stopped editing entirely. Things were quiet for the first time in the wiki's history (and it would not be the last time).

Redesign period

On January 16, 2011, Styracosaurus Rider started a wiki redesign. This, among other things, entailed the launch of a reference system, the removal of comments and their replacement with talk pages, and a change in the wiki's policies to be both a formal encyclopedia and a place for paleontology enthusiasts to get together. 

October 31, 2011 was the date of the wiki's "official" relaunch, which was celebrated with the implemetation of a badge system and the launch of Wiki Prehistorica's sister wiki Prehistoric Answers, a Wikia answer site where people can ask their questions about paleontology and prehistory and get them answered. Styracosaurus Rider invited some friends, such as Pinguinus and Holbenilord (best known for their work on the Multiverses Wiki) to inspect the redesign and edit a bit, though this jump in editors was short-lived.

Styracosaurus Rider continued to edit (albeit sporadically) through the end of 2011 and into 2012, redesigning the main page and adding additional templates and CSS. There were a few anonymous editors present during this period, but none stayed for very long. Another large pause in inactivity took up most of 2012, but Styracosaurus Rider returned in at the start of 2013 with a fresh outlook and a plan to keep going.

In particular, the creation of the Pelagiarctos article was notable because at the time (late January) the genus was being reevaluated and had gotten some thorough media coverage, but Wikipedia had not made the changes to their own article yet. So as of March 2013, our article lists more references to cite our information than the corresponding Wikipedia article. We finally reached 100 articles in mid-February with the creation of the Pterosaur page by an anonymous user, who was very helpful in creating pages (particularly on fauna of the Burgess Shale).


This section is continually in progress...will you be the next big thing to hit the (pre)history books?

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