Rereading The Fossil Record: The Growth Of Paleobiology As An Evolutionary Discipline

Paperback | March 5, 2015

byDavid Sepkoski

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Rereading the Fossil Record presents the first-ever historical account of the origin, rise, and importance of paleobiology, from the mid-nineteenth century to the late 1980s. Drawing on a wealth of archival material, David Sepkoski shows how the movement was conceived and promoted by a small but influential group of paleontologists and examines the intellectual, disciplinary, and political dynamics involved in the ascendency of paleobiology. By tracing the role of computer technology, large databases, and quantitative analytical methods in the emergence of paleobiology, this book also offers insight into the growing prominence and centrality of data-driven approaches in recent science.

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Rereading the Fossil Record presents the first-ever historical account of the origin, rise, and importance of paleobiology, from the mid-nineteenth century to the late 1980s. Drawing on a wealth of archival material, David Sepkoski shows how the movement was conceived and promoted by a small but influential group of paleontologists and...

David Sepkoski is a senior research scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. He is coeditor, with Michael Ruse, of The Paleobiological Revolution: Essays on the Growth of Modern Paleontology, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

other books by David Sepkoski

Format:PaperbackDimensions:440 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.4 inPublished:March 5, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022627294X

ISBN - 13:9780226272948

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Rereading the Fossil Record

Chapter 1. Darwin’s Dilemma: Paleontology, the Fossil Record, and Evolutionary Theory
Chapter 2. The Growth of Theoretical Paleontology
Chapter 3. The Rise of Quantitative Paleobiology
Chapter 4. From Paleoecology to Paleobiology
Chapter 5. Punctuated Equilibria and the Rise of the New Paleobiology
Chapter 6. The Founding of a Research Journal
Chapter 7. “Towards a Nomothetic Paleontology”: The MBL Model and Stochastic Paleontology
Chapter 8. A “Natural History of Data”: The Rise of Taxic Paleobiology
Chapter 9. The Dynamics of Mass Extinctions
Chapter 10. Toward a New Macroevolutionary Synthesis

Conclusion: Paleontology at the High Table?

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Works Cited
Index

Editorial Reviews

“David Sepkoski’s narrative shows us how the science of paleontology was transformed in the later twentieth century by the energetic activities of a quite small group of talented individuals. Their journal, Paleobiology, gave their movement a name and an institutional identity, but also an outlet for their radical research program. Foreseeing at an early stage the huge potential of computers, they turned the analysis of the fossil record into a component of evolutionary theorizing that could no longer be ignored or marginalized by the dominant ‘modern synthesis.’ This is a book from which both evolutionary biologists and historians of twentieth-century science will have much to learn, and it is so readable that they should all enjoy the experience.”