Human Evolution Research Center
3101 Valley Life Sciences Building
University of California
Berkeley, CA, 94720-3160
Tel: 510 642-7952 Fax: 510 643-8231





Fossils may each be photographed from several perspectives. Each digital image is given a unique filename that combines the subject's specimen number with information about the image's anatomical perspective, photographer, and date taken. The following guide details the strict filename convention to be employed when working on Middle Awash specimens. For information on file format protocols see:

HERC/Middle Awash Image Storage Protocol

1. The first part of the image filename is the specimen number. Standard Middle Awash specimen numbers are modified in the following ways for use in image filenames to insure proper directory functionality and to facilitate electronic searching and sorting.

• The locality abbreviation (the first three letters) remains intact.
• The "-VP" is removed from the name.
• Slashes (/) are converted to hyphens (-).
• Locality numbers in image filenames are always composed of two integers. Locality numbers below 10 are prefixed with a zero.
• Specimen numbers in image filenames are always denoted by four integers. If a specimen number is below 1000 it is be prefixed with 1, 2, or 3 zeros.
• Multiple images of the same specimen/sub-specimen shot from the same anatomical perspective are given serial CAPITAL letters (_A, _B, _C, etc.). Images with only one shot from a sinlge anatomical  perspective are labelled (_A) regardless of whether there is more than one shot.
• For multi-element specimens (for example, an associated mandible and cranium bearing a single specimen number) each sub-specimen (separate, non-joining piece or element belonging to the same individual) is labeled with a lower case letter separated from the specimen number by a hyphen [-a_, -b_, -c_...]. These letters are applied to sub-specimens after sequencing them in the following order:
   1. cranial (right to left, cranial to caudal; lateral to medial)
   2. mandibular (right to left, cranial to caudal; lateral to medial)
   3. dental (right to left, mesial to distal; upper to lower)
   4. axial (right to left, cranial to caudal, lateral to medial)
   5. appendicular (right to left, cranial to caudal; proximal to distal; lateral to medial; ray 1 to 5)

2. Use von den Driesch (1976) for anatomical terminology reference (click image below) and the codes outlined below on this page.

click to enlarge

The anatomical perspective portrayed in a fossil specimen image is denoted with one of the following lowercase two-letter codes which are separated by an underline from the specimen number:

• For isolated dental specimens:

_ms = mesial
_dt = distal
_ap = apical
_ob = non-standard view (oblique)

• For dental specimens, including mandibles and maxillae with teeth:

_li = lingual
_bc = buccal
_lb = labial
_oc = occlusal
_ob = non-standard view (oblique)

• For crania including edentulous mandibles and maxillae:

_lt = lateral
_md = medial
_dr = dorsal (use instead of posterior for hominids, also refers to the opposite of plantar/palmar for manus and pes)
_ed = endocranial
_ec = ectocranial
_nu = nuchal (toward back of head)
_na= nasal (toward nose)
_ba = basal
_ob = non-standard view (oblique)

• For postcrania:

_lt = lateral
_md = medial
_ml = medial or lateral
_vt = ventral (use instead of anterior for hominids)
_dr = dorsal (use instead of posterior for hominids, also refers to the opposite of plantar/palmar for manus and pes)
_cr = cranial (use instead of superior for hominids)
_cd = caudal (use instead of inferior for hominids)
_pa = plantar/palmar
_pr = proximal
_dt = distal
_ob = non-standard view (oblique)

3. The photographer and date are referenced.

• An underline precedes the photographer's initials, which are UPPER CASE and composed of 2 or 3 characters.
• An underline precedes the two-digit year of the photograph's acquisition (when the picture was taken).

4. Sample filenames

• Typical specimen filename:


  1. "_md" denotes a medial perspective.
  2. "_A" denotes that this is the first of several medial images of specimen BOU-02-0066.

• Multi-element specimen filename:

    1. "-a" denotes that specimen BOU-01-0078 has more than one element and that the image presents part "-a."

5. Add file extension (.jpg, .tif, etc.).



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