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Species and Speciation in the Fossil Record$
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Warren D. Allmon and Margaret M. Yacobucci

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226377445

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226377582.001.0001

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Studying Species in the Fossil Record: A Review and Recommendations for a More Unified Approach

Studying Species in the Fossil Record: A Review and Recommendations for a More Unified Approach

Chapter:
(p.59) Chapter Three Studying Species in the Fossil Record: A Review and Recommendations for a More Unified Approach
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Species and Speciation in the Fossil Record
Author(s):

Warren D. Allmon

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226377582.003.0004

The theoretical literature on species and speciation is often viewed as chaotic and/or useless, and the situation in paleontology has frequently seemed, if anything, even murkier. Despite this, there is in fact something of a working consensus on several important aspects of what species are and how they arise, both in living forms and in the fossil record. This often unrecognized consensus provides an opportunity for at least some standardization of methods for recognizing and discussing species, especially as they are perceived in fossils. This chapter argues for adoption by paleontologists of a single, “unified” species concept, of the sort that is becoming widely accepted among neontologists. I recommend that paleontologists formally embrace the general lineage concept (GLC) of species as the best description of both what species are and how they can be understood in the fossil record. Second, I provide an overview of the current operational status of species in studies of fossil animals.

Keywords:   cryptic species, morphospecies, species concepts

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