Terms & Conditions

Terms and Conditions of use for the Map of Life website

  1. General terms of use
  2. Intellectual property: copyright and trade marks
  3. Accessibility policy
  4. User obligations when accessing our website
  5. Exclusions and limitations of liability
  6. Jurisdiction
  7. General
  8. Contact details for enquiries

1. General terms of use

References in these terms of use to “we”, “our” and “us”, etc. are references to us, the Map of Life. Your use of our website at and all subdirectories is subject to these terms of use which you should read before making any further use of our website. By using our website you agree to be bound by these terms of use, which shall take effect immediately on your first use of our website. If you do not agree to be bound by all of the following terms please do not access, use and/or contribute to our website.

We may amend these terms of use at any time. Any revised terms of use will take effect immediately from the time they are published on our website. Your continued use of our website will be deemed acceptance of updated or amended terms.

2. Intellectual property: copyright and trade marks

Our website, its design and content, and all technical infrastructure relating to it is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights.

2a. Reproduction of material

Material contained in our website may be downloaded, viewed and printed for personal non-commercial use or for internal non-commercial circulation within your organisation provided that no trade mark, copyright or other proprietary notices contained in or appearing on such material are removed in whole or in part. Material contained in our website may not otherwise be copied, reproduced or redistributed in whole or in part without our prior written permission. In particular, it must not be reproduced or exploited for commercial gain. All other rights are reserved and you must ask our permission before making any other use of material contained in our website. This permission to reproduce material does not extend to material identified as belonging to third parties. You must obtain the permission of the relevant owners before reproducing such material.

2b. Names, trade marks and logos

The names, trade marks and logos used and displayed on our website are the registered and unregistered trade marks of the Map of Life or of others. You may not use these names, trade marks or logos without prior written permission from the relevant owner(s). In addition to the active domain name, the Map of Life owns full rights to the following domain names:,,,

2c. Images

Images (photographs, figures, line drawings and all other graphics) within the Map of Life website are used freely and with permission. The images are protected by whatever rights their author(s) has applied. These rights are indicated in the metadata for each image we have used, which can be viewed from within the website.

2d. Ownership of original content

The Map of Life owns the copyright for all original textual and graphical content in the website, whether generated by employees or sub-contractors.

3. Accessibility policy

The Map of Life website has been designed to be as accessible as possible for all our users. We realise that not everyone will interact with the site in the same way, but we want the information to be available to as many people as possible.


A key part of the design process is to follow recognised standards-compliant technology and code. The pages are built using valid XHTML, and CSS is used to control the layout and appearance of all the elements. Where we provide contact details, the code is microformatted.

Modern, standard web browsers such as Firefox and Safari will display the site as it is intended, but it will also display well in Internet Explorer. The site is not designed for use in mobile devices.

All pages should display well with or without stylesheets or images enabled. All text is re-sizeable. All images have ALT text, and abbreviations or acronyms have associated explanatory text – for example, if users hover over the abbreviation “XHTML”, a tool-tip will appear to explain what the letters stand for.

Mouse and keyboard compatibility

For those who do not use a mouse to select and activate links on a web page, it is possible to use the TAB key to move from one hyperlink to the next, and the ENTER key to activate a link.

We do not use accesskeys as a navigation tool because of the possibility that the chosen key combinations could clash with built-in shortcut combinations, in a particular the web browser or operating platform (for more information on accesskey problems, see this article).


Many links include a small piece of explanatory text, called a tool-tip, which appears if users hover their mouse-pointer over it. This feature is not used where we deem that the link itself (e.g. a piece of text) is self-explanatory.

The Map of Life contains a few links to external websites, indicated by a small icon next to the link name. External links open in a new browser window or tab, but do not use JavaScript to create a “pop-up” window.


Although web browsers are designed to present web pages, rather than handle complex printing, it is possible to print out pages from the Map of Life website. These print outs may be sub-standard relative to the original web page, sometimes retaining useless information such as navigation menus, or else can appear cramped and poorly laid-out.

As users may sometimes wish to print the text of a Topic or a Category, we first display the number of words in each Topic, to help users decide if printing will be a good idea, and second we have tried to make the printed versions of pages as legible and attractive as possible. All printouts will be readable, even if their format is altered somewhat in the printing process.

4. User obligations when accessing our website

In accessing any part of our website, you agree:

(i) not to use our website in such a way that disrupts, interferes with or restricts the use of our website by other users;

(ii) not to upload, display or transmit any materials to or through our website which are false, plagiarised, offensive, defamatory, threatening, obscene, unlawful or which infringe the rights (including copyright) of any other person anywhere in the world;

(iii) not, except insofar as permitted by law, to reverse engineer, decompile, copy or adapt any software or other code or scripts forming part of our website or attempt to transmit to or via our website any information that contains a virus, worm, Trojan horse or other harmful or disruptive component;

(iv) not to change, modify, delete, interfere with or misuse data contained on our website and entered by or relating to any third party user of our website; and

(v) to indemnify (pay) us for any loss, expenses or damage we suffer or incur if you breach any of these obligations or any other provision of these terms of use.

5. Exclusions and limitations of liability

Owing to the nature of the Internet we cannot guarantee that our website or the websites to which it is linked will always be available to you. We also cannot guarantee that any material which you download from or access on our website or the websites to which it is linked will be free from infection, viruses and/or other code that has contaminating or destructive properties. You should therefore ensure that you have appropriate protection against viruses and other security arrangements in place whilst using the Internet.

Our website has been prepared with the primary aim of providing information about convergent evolution. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the information and material we have prepared for our website was accurate at the time of publication, it is subject to variation at any time without notice and we give no warranty whatsoever that any information or material on our website will be accurate or complete at any particular time or at all. If you believe that any information or material which we have prepared for and published on our website is inaccurate or misleading please let us know and, if we agree that the information or material is inaccurate or misleading, we will correct it as soon as is reasonably practical.

The information, material and services provided on our website are provided on an ‘as is’ and ‘as available’ basis and we accept no liability for such information, material and services provided. Where you rely on any information, material or services on our website, you do so entirely at your own risk and you accept that, except as set out in these terms of use, all warranties, conditions and undertakings, express or implied, whether by common law, statute, trade usage, course of dealings or otherwise in respect of such information, material and services are excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law.

In no circumstances shall we be liable to you for any direct or any indirect or consequential loss, loss of profit, revenue or goodwill resulting or arising from your use of or inability to use our website or any other website linked to it, or from your reliance on the information, material and services provided on our website or information, material and services accessed through it.

Nothing in these terms of use is intended to exclude our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence or for our fraudulent misrepresentation or to exclude any obligations we may have to make certain information available.

6. Jurisdiction

Our website has been designed and these terms of use shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law. Any dispute arising out of the access or use of our website shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

7. General

Nothing in these terms of use is intended to, nor shall it, confer any benefit on a third party whether under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 or otherwise. You may not assign or transfer your rights under these terms of use without our prior written permission.

Our failure at any time to enforce any right we may have against you does not mean that we have waived our right or that we will not enforce that right at a later time.

If at any time any provision of these terms of use is or becomes invalid or illegal in any respect, such provision shall be deemed to be severed from these terms of use but the remaining provisions of these terms of use shall continue to be valid, legal and enforceable.

8. Contact details for enquiries

Requests for further information about these Terms and Conditions or any subject presented in the Map of Life may be directed to:

Email: [email protected]

Postal address: Map of Life Enquiries
Department of Earth Sciences
University of Cambridge
Downing Street
United Kingdom

Terms and Conditions last updated July 2009

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