The Fossil Record: Biological or Geological Signal?

Michael J. Benton

in The Paleobiological Revolution

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780226748610
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226748597 | DOI:
The Fossil Record: Biological or Geological Signal?

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This chapter examines modern approaches to perhaps the oldest problem in paleontology, specifically the perceived incompleteness of the fossil record. It focuses on the larger-scale patterns that may be gleaned from the fossil record such as global diversification and mass extinction. This chapter evaluates recent approaches in molecular phylogenetics and statistical tests of paleontological sampling error and suggests that while accurately interpreting the fossil record still presents many challenges, the future prospects for paleobiology are quite good.

Keywords: paleontology; fossil record; global diversification; mass extinction; molecular phylogenetics; statistical tests; sampling error

Chapter.  7266 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Palaeontology

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