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Problems of Palaeontology


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1 Department of Geology, University of Adelaide, Australia
     

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Modern approaches to palaeontological problems are characteristically based on appreciation and analysis of geological as well as biological factors, tending to minimize the distinction between palaeobiological and biostratigraphic aspects of the subject. A rational approach to stratigraphic index fossils implies detailed evolutionary studies. Classification of fossils can no longer be expected to provide a definite name for every single object. The fossil record is incomplete not only in the sense of absence of formerly living organisms from the record hut also in the sense of incomplete representation of former biological systems by fossils. Physiological factors may be more important than shell or skeleton mechanics within these systems and also in the evolutionary origination of mineralized tissues. Faunal change, the basis of biostratigraphy, is being approached by microecological analysis rather than by empirical compilation of faunal lists. Methods are becoming more quantitative but guidance from biological models as to the significance of measurements and from some aspects of palaeontology as to the significance of samples is essential. Palaeontology is now a unified science, unique as the study of life processes in the past.
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  • Problems of Palaeontology

Abstract Views: 234  |  PDF Views: 2

Authors

M. F. Glaessner
Department of Geology, University of Adelaide, Australia

Abstract


Modern approaches to palaeontological problems are characteristically based on appreciation and analysis of geological as well as biological factors, tending to minimize the distinction between palaeobiological and biostratigraphic aspects of the subject. A rational approach to stratigraphic index fossils implies detailed evolutionary studies. Classification of fossils can no longer be expected to provide a definite name for every single object. The fossil record is incomplete not only in the sense of absence of formerly living organisms from the record hut also in the sense of incomplete representation of former biological systems by fossils. Physiological factors may be more important than shell or skeleton mechanics within these systems and also in the evolutionary origination of mineralized tissues. Faunal change, the basis of biostratigraphy, is being approached by microecological analysis rather than by empirical compilation of faunal lists. Methods are becoming more quantitative but guidance from biological models as to the significance of measurements and from some aspects of palaeontology as to the significance of samples is essential. Palaeontology is now a unified science, unique as the study of life processes in the past.