Chapter

The Nature of a Sample

Mark E. Patzkowsky and Steven M. Holland

in Stratigraphic Paleobiology

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780226649375
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226649399 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226649399.003.0002
The Nature of a Sample

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This chapter discusses the recent concepts of the formation of sedimentary beds and their implications for the fine-scale structure of the fossil record. A summary of central topics in taphonomy, including questions about out-of-habitat transport, the recognition of census and time-averaged assemblages, the difference between stratigraphic and paleontologic resolution, and the fidelity of fossil assemblages is presented. It is known that sedimentary beds and their time-averaged fossil assemblages are the fundamental units in a parallel hierarchy of temporal and spatial stratigraphic and paleoecologic units. Also, the spatial and temporal resolution of a bed defines the lower limit on biologic questions that can be asked in the fossil record, and paleoecologists should focus on questions that take advantage of the time-averaged nature of the fossil record.

Keywords: sedimentary beds; fine-scale structure; fossil record; taphonomy; out-of-habitat transport; time-averaged assemblages

Chapter.  6814 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Palaeontology

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