Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Rereading the Fossil RecordThe Growth of Paleobiology as an Evolutionary Discipline$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

David Sepkoski

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226748559

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226748580.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Introduction Rereading the Fossil Record

Introduction Rereading the Fossil Record

(p.1) Introduction Rereading the Fossil Record
Rereading the Fossil Record

David Sepkoski

University of Chicago Press

The fossil record was widely considered as an imperfect text for supporting evolutionary theory by evolutionary biologists, so paleobiologists came up with the strategy to “reread” that text in a manner that could produce reliable evolutionary insight to gain greater acceptance. This chapter identifies and discuses the three main approaches for “rereading” the fossil record that were developed by paleobiologists. The first approach, attempted by paleobiologists is a “literal reading” in which the fossil record, with all its renowned gaps and inconsistencies, was taken at face value as a reliable document. The second approach is known as “idealized rereading”, and here the physical particulars of the fossil record were ignored, and the history of life—the species, genera, families, etc., that make up the actual record—was modeled as a series of homogeneous data points. The final or third approach is known as a “generalized rereading”, this approach encompasses a combination of the other two approaches, and it ultimately became the dominant methodology in analytical paleobiology.

Keywords:   fossil record, evolutionary theory, paleobiologists, analytical paleobiology, evolutionary biologists, history of life

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.