The Paleobiological RevolutionEssays on the Growth of Modern Paleontology

The Paleobiological RevolutionEssays on the Growth of Modern Paleontology

David Sepkoski and Michael Ruse

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226748610

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


Paleontology has long had a troubled relationship with evolutionary biology. Suffering from a reputation as a second-tier science and conjuring images of fossil collectors and amateurs who dig up bones, it was marginalized even by Darwin himself, who worried that incompleteness in the fossil record would be used against his theory of evolution. But with the establishment of the modern synthesis in the 1940s and the pioneering work of George Gaylord Simpson, Ernst Mayr, and Theodosius Dobzhansky, as well as the subsequent efforts of Stephen Jay Gould, David Raup, and James Valentine, paleontology became embedded in biology and emerged as paleobiology, a first-rate discipline central to evolutionary studies. This incredible ascendance of this once-maligned science to the vanguard of a field is chronicled in this book. Chapters here aim to capture the excitement of the seismic changes in the discipline.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Paleontology at the High Table

David Sepkoski and Michael Ruse

I Major Innovations in Paleobiology

II The Historical and Conceptual Significance of Recent Paleontology

III Reflections on Recent Paleobiology

Chapter Twenty-Four An Interview with David M. Raup

Edited by David Sepkoski and David M. Raup

End Matter