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The Paleobiological RevolutionEssays on the Growth of Modern Paleontology$
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David Sepkoski and Michael Ruse

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226748610

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226748597.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Beyond Detective Work: Empirical Testing in Paleontology

Beyond Detective Work: Empirical Testing in Paleontology

Chapter:
(p.201) Chapter Ten Beyond Detective Work: Empirical Testing in Paleontology
Source:
The Paleobiological Revolution
Author(s):

Derek Turner

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226748597.003.0011

This chapter investigates whether paleontology, as a historical science, can perform experiments, and whether paleobiological experiments are like experiments in other scientific disciplines. It suggests that it is possible to carry out rigorous empirical tests without actually performing any experimental manipulations on the objects of interest. This chapter describes two techniques that paleobiologists have come to rely on over the last few decades: crunching the fossils and virtual experiments. It also shows that reconstruction of prehistoric organisms and past evolutionary processes can link up in surprising and fruitful ways.

Keywords:   paleontology, experiments, empirical tests, virtual experiences, prehistoric organisms, evolutionary processes

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