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Aims and scopes

MorphoMuseuM (M3, ISSN 2274-0422) is a publication of the Department of Paleontology of the “Institut des Sciences de l’Évolution” from Montpellier, France. M3 is the partner journal of Palæovertebrata, which is also published by the Department of Paleontology of the same institution.

M3 primarily publishes quality 3D surface models of vertebrate specimens. M3 aims at:

  • improving our knowledge of vertebrate fine anatomy,
  • facilitating the access to 3D models of type specimens,
  • facilitating the access to 3D models of models already analysed in other scientific publications,
  • presenting new 3D model processing methods.

M3 also encourages using the software ISE-MeshTools, which provides a set of tools for editing, positioning, deforming, labelling, measuring and rendering sets of 3D surfaces.

You may cite M3 with the following reference:
Lebrun, R., Orliac, M. J., 2016. MorphoMuseuM: an online platform for publication and storage of virtual specimens. The Paleontological Society Papers, 22, 183-195.


Since the mid 90's, 3D data acquisition and computer-assisted techniques have grown increasingly popular among evolutionary biologists, paleontologists and paleoanthropologists. However, while the need to exchange 3D models of specimens among researchers and the pressure of scientific journals to render original 3D morphological data publicly available have increased, no standard 3D model repository has emerged. The aim of M3 is to fill this gap. Each 3D model deposited in M3 can be publicly accessed. Each model is given a unique identifier code, which in turn should be cited by researchers using this model in scientific publications.

Also, researchers should thank the institution curating the corresponding physical specimens out of which the analyzed models have been produced in their scientific publications, and inform the corresponding institution(s)/curator(s) of any new scientific publication involving 3D data derived from physical specimens housed in their collections.


Contributions to M3 come in two flavors:

Original articles

Four main categories of original contributed articles are published in M3:
Anatomy atlases: this category is primarily designed to publish osteological anatomical models of entire organisms. Publication of anatomical models displaying soft tissues is also mostly welcome. We recommend to properly label and tag the 3D surfaces using mesh editing software such as MeshTools
Fossil reconstructions: virtual restorations of damaged fossil organisms are published in this section. Emphasis should be put on the reconstruction procedure.
Holotype specimens: priority is set to osteological models extracted from CT-Data. Models showing segmented anatomical structures (such as teeth, bone, cavities ...) are favored.
Miscellaneous: this category is designed to publish models which do not fit in one of the preceding categories, but nevertheless present enough scientific interest to be published in our journal.
Visit the instructions to authors relative to original articles .

Direct contributions

M3 also publishes 3D datasets (3D surfaces, CT scan / MRI data). The owners of a 3D dataset may want or need to give public access to their data for different reasons:

  • The 3D dataset has been already used and analyzed in another scientific journal.
  • The analysis of this 3D dataset is currently being reviewed in a scientific journal which asks to give open access to the original data as soon as the article is published (in that case, M3 will not give public access to the data prior the publication of the original analysis).
  • This 3D dataset may also not relate to any scientific publication, but the authors or the institution owning these data want to give public access to these models.

Visit the instructions to authors relative to direct contributions.
As stated above, M3 is the partner journal of Palaeovertebrata, in which we encourage you to publish your analyses of 3D datasets.

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