Fossils and Evolution

Paperback | January 1, 1999

byT. S. Kemp

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The book is about the ideas, methodology and scope of contemporary palaeobiology, rather than a comprehensive, detailed survey of the factual basis of the subject. It addresses the issue of how on the one hand evolutionary theory is necessary for interpretation of the fossil record, and yeton the other the fossils themselves can contribute to evolutionary theory. This is shown not to be the circular argument between pattern and process sometimes alleged, but a matter of understanding carefully the interrelationship between palaeontological and neontological evidence. The book is organised into two sections. Part 1 consists of four chapters outlining the principles, namely: the nature of the pattern/process relationship, taxonomic methods and the analysis of pattern, evolutionary theory and the analysis of process and the nature of incompleteness of the fossilrecord and what to do about it. Armed with these principles and methods, Part 2 is devoted to the five central areas of contemporary research in evolutionary palaeobiology. These are: fossils and phylogenetic inference; the mechanism of speciation; taxonomic turnover on the geological time-scale;mass-extinctions; the origin of new higher taxa. In each case the nature of the questions and the relevant kinds of evidence, including such new sources as molecular sequence data and stable isotope ratios where appropriate, are reviewed. The extent to which palaeobiology has, and has not yet,contributed to providing the sought after answers is made clear.

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The book is about the ideas, methodology and scope of contemporary palaeobiology, rather than a comprehensive, detailed survey of the factual basis of the subject. It addresses the issue of how on the one hand evolutionary theory is necessary for interpretation of the fossil record, and yeton the other the fossils themselves can contr...

T. S. Kemp is at Oxford University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:290 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.71 inPublished:January 1, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198504241

ISBN - 13:9780198504245

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Some fundamental ideas3. Evolutionary theory: analysing process4. Taxonomy: analysing pattern5. Incompleteness and what to do about it6. Fossils and phylogeny: if only we had more fossils7. Speciation: gradual, punctuated, or what?8. Rules and laws of taxonomic turnover: are there any?9. Mass extinctions: resetting the evolutionary clock10. The origin of new higher taxa: the ultimate question11. Epilogue: where next?