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Stratigraphic PaleobiologyUnderstanding the Distribution of Fossil Taxa in Time and Space$
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Mark E. Patzkowsky and Steven M. Holland

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226649375

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226649399.001.0001

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The Nature of a Sample

The Nature of a Sample

Chapter:
(p.11) 2 The Nature of a Sample
Source:
Stratigraphic Paleobiology
Author(s):

Mark E. Patzkowsky

Steven M. Holland

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226649399.003.0002

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

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