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Submission Guidelines


Palaeontologia africana publishes papers in the field of palaeontological research and in related branches of the earth sciences. Copies are available for purchase individually or in sets. Back copies of volumes 1-48 are available electronically at the address below and in hard copy upon request at variable rates depending on shipping costs. Beginning with volume 49, Palaeontologia africana is available online only in pdf format at the following permanent address:

Direct all enquiries to:

The Editor

Palaeontologia africana

Evolutionary Studies Institute

University of Witwatersrand

Private Bag 3

Wits 2050

South Africa

Telephone: [+27-11] 717-6690/6682

Fax: [27-11] 717-6694


Submission of a manuscript for publication will be taken to indicate that the material is original and has not been submitted for publication elsewhere.

Authors wishing to reserve copyright to themselves should stipulate this at the time of submission of manuscript. Manuscripts are published under the Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License (CC BY 3.0) . This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original source are credited. Authors not wishing to publish under this license must contact the Editor to discuss alternative arrangements. Manuscripts and illustrations should be submitted to the following email address:

Preparation and Submission of Manuscripts


Manuscripts must be submitted electronically, and formatted to fit on one side of A4 size paper in double spacing throughout and with margins at least 25mm wide all around. All pages must be numbered consecutively in the centre of the top margin (central), beginning with page 1 on the title page.

The text should be composed in ‘MS Word’ or saved in either .doc, .docx, or .rtf format, with a file name that clearly identifies at least the lead author and keywords from the title.


Except in the case of short communications and technical reports, manuscripts should normally be divided into appropriate and conventional sections set out in the following order: title, abstract, introduction, body of text (subdivided as appropriate), acknowledgements, references, figure legends, tables.


The title should be concise and should reflect the contents clearly. Names of new biological taxa proposed in the manuscript should not be included in the title. If the title is long a suitable abbreviated running title must be provided.

The title must be followed on a separate line by the authors name/s and institutional address/es. Institutional affiliations, mailing addresses, and e-mail addresses of all authors must be provided. In multi-authored contributions, the institutional address and e-mail of each individual must be linked to the relevant name using superscript numbers.


An informative abstract not exceeding 300 words must be provided. This section is to be omitted in technical reports.


At least five keywords should be provided immediately after the abstract.

Introduction and main text

The manuscript should be divided as appropriate into conventional sections (e.g. Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion).


Authors should only include only those acknowledgements that are truly warranted.


References are listed at the end of the manuscript, beginning on a new page. Under this heading, authors must list only published works that have been cited in the text.

Unpublished works, even those that are ‘in press’, must not be included unless full bibliographic details can be provided, including pagination. However, formal theses and dissertations, even though unpublished, may be listed provided full details are supplied; this must include reference to the institution where the master copy is lodged. Work that is ‘in preparation’ and ‘personal communications’ may be referred to in the text, but must not be included in the list of references.

The list of references must be arranged alphabetically, then chronologically, according to the layout of the examples below. An EndnoteTM style is available for authors to download at the following address:

Leave one blank line between each reference, and do not indent or otherwise format each entry. The layout sequence is:

  1. Author’s names(s) and initials (in uppercase only). In the case of multi-authored manuscripts, successive authors’ names should be separated by commas, with an ampersand (&) between the penultimate and last name;
  2. Year of publication (not in brackets). If more than one paper by the same author is listed for the same year, successive entries must be designated by placing the letters a,b,c, etc., after the year of publication;
  3. Full title of paper. Use capitals only for the first letter and for proper names. Generic and specific names must be italicized, unless such names themselves fall within an italicized title, in which case the names should be regular (non-italic) script. If your equipment is unable to produce italics, please underline those words that should be italicized;
  4. Full (unabbreviated) title of the journal, book or other source, in italics. Book titles should be followed by the edition (if other than the first), the place of publication and the name of publisher.
  5. Volume specification of journal: i.e. series (if applicable), volume number (in bold), part number (if any) in brackets, pagination (first and last page).

Examples of reference citations

ANDERSON, H.M. 1976. A revision of the genus Dicroidium from the Molteno Formation. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

ANDERSON, H.M. & ANDERSON, J.M. 1970. A preliminary review of the biostratigraphy of the uppermost Permian, Triassic and lowermost Jurassic of Gondwanaland. Palaeontologia africana 13, 1–22.

CROMPTON, A.W. 1962. On the dentition and tooth replacement in two bauriamorph reptiles. Annals of the South African Museum 46(9), 231–255.

HOPSON, J.A. & BARGHUSEN,H.R. 1986. An analysis of therapsid relationships. In: Hotton, N., MacLean, P.D., Roth, J.J.&Roth, E.C. (eds), The Ecology and Biology of Mammal-like Reptiles, 159–168. Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press.

ROMER, A.S. 1966. Vertebrate Palaeontology (3rd edn). Chicago, University of

Chicago Press.

ROMER, A.S. 1973. Permian reptiles. In: Hallam, A. (ed.), Atlas of Palaeobiogeography,

159–168. Amsterdam, Elsevier.

VAN DER MERWE, N.J., LEE-THORP, J.A., THACKERAY, J.F., HALL-MARTIN, A., KRUGER, F.J., COETZEE, H., BELL, R.H.V. & LINDEQUE, M. 1990. Source-area determination of elephant ivory by isotopic analysis. Nature 346, 744–746.

PERIERA, L.M. 2009. The Wits Online Phytolith Database. University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Online at: (accessed 15 February 2010). 

Reference citations in the text should give the name of the author and the date on each occasion, and substitutes such as op. cit., loc. cit. should not be used, e.g. ‘Smith &Jones (1943) suggested that ...’, ‘... extinction rates (Smith&Jones 1972) and other factors ...’. In the text, successive references by the same author should be separated by commas, and those of different authors by semi-colons: (Brain 1990, 1991; Hughes 1961; Smith & Jones 1972).


Three orders of headings are used.

FIRST ORDER, printed in bold capitals and left-aligned.

Second order, printed in bold upper and lower case and left-aligned.

Third order, printed in upper and lower case italics and left-aligned.

Headed sections and paragraphs should not otherwise be numbered or lettered in the manuscript.


Tables must be set out on separate sheets, with their second-order headings in lower case for each. They are numbered consecutively in arabic numerals (e.g. Table 1, Table 2). Please indicate the position of each table by notation in the text (e.g. “<<Insert Table X here>>”).

When referring to Tables in the text the word ‘Table’ is spelt out in full and given a capital initial letter, e.g. Table 2.

Figure legends

Figure legends should be placed at the end of the body text, after References.
Please format as follows:

Figure X. Text. A, text. B, text. C, text. Scale bar(s) equal: A, 1 cm; etc.


All illustrations are termed Figures (the word is to be spelt out in full with a capital initial letter), and they are numbered consecutively with arabic numerals. Palaeontologia africana now only accepts electronic figures, although in exceptional cases the authors may petition the Editor to allow hard copy figure submission. Please mark the position of figures by inserting the following identifier at an appropriate position in the body text: “<<Insert Figure X here>>”. When referring to figures in the text the word is abbreviated with a capital initial letter, e.g.Fig. 23.

All illustrations should be designed for same-size printing or slight reduction (by no more than 1/3) in the final form. The maximum acceptable size for illustrations on the printed page is 245 × 175 mm. Maximum printed sizes for figures are as follows: full page, height 245 mm width 175 mm; column width 87 mm. Tip-ins and fold-outs are not accepted except under very special circumstances, and generally any additional costs will be for the account of the author.

For initial submission, .pdf, .jpeg, .png figures with resolution of 150 dpi are acceptable. Upon acceptance, authors will be asked to provide high-resolution 300 dpi (black and white or colour photographic images) or 600dpi (mixed line and photographic images), or 1200dpi (line art) .tif, .wmf, .eps, .pdf or .png figures. A guide to preparing high-quality figures is available from the Editor. Lettering and label lines should be added in a vector editor such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape. Colour illustrations welcomed at no cost to the author(s).

Scale should be represented by suitably labelled scale bars of appropriate size, with the units of measurement specified in the caption; avoid reference to magnification in captions. 

Graphs should preferably in one of the vector (not bitmap) formats (.eps, .wmf,.svg, .emf, or .pdf). Diagrams prepared in Excel should be saved in MicrosoftWord as Windows metafiles or enhanced metafiles (.wmf or .emf); .eps (encapsulated PostScript files) are also acceptable. Black and white drawings should be scanned at 1200 dpi as line art, not in RGB colour mode. Print-quality digital images may be submitted on CD-ROM or via FTP sites such as or

Numerical data

The metric system (SI units) is to be used throughout for all numerical data. If there is good reason for using units other than metric, the SI metric equivalents must be given in brackets. Authors should familiarize themselves with the standard abbreviations of SI metric units; non-standard abbreviations are not acceptable.

Acceptance of Papers

All manuscripts offered to the Editor are submitted to two or more referees for critical appraisal, and the substance of the referees’ comments is forwarded to the author in the event that the manuscript is rejected or requires revision. The Editor will advise the author whether or not the manuscript is accepted for publication.

If the manuscript is accepted, one set of proofs (usually page proofs) will be submitted to the author for careful checking and these must be returned as soon as possible. The cost of any additions or major alterations to the text at proof stage may be charged to the author. Further proofs may be submitted to the author if the Editor considers it to be necessary or desirable, but at this stage any postal charges will be for the account of the author.