Standardized sampling of the vertebrate fossil record holds great promise for increasing the quantity and quality of information about taphonomy, paleoecology, and faunal change through time. Large samples are available in fragmentary surface materials that can be identified at taxonomic levels above genus and species, and such data can be recorded efficiently during walking surveys that also result in the discovery of rich bone concentrations and anatomically complete specimens. The methods used for the Siwalik biostratigraphic surveys provide an example of this approach, but for other places, field practices will need to be tailored to particular geological contexts, outcrop topographies, and fossil frequencies. The increased application of this overall approach, aided by GPS and GIS technology, could contribute substantially to understanding of depositional systems, taphonomic processes, faunal evolution, and environmental change in the vertebrate record. The biostratigraphic survey method also provides a basis for comparing fossil productivity, skeletal part ratios, and faunal patterns in widely different fossiliferous sequences and time periods throughout the Phanerozoic.