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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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The Fossil Record: Biological or Geological Signal?

The Fossil Record: Biological or Geological Signal?

(p.43) Chapter Two The Fossil Record: Biological or Geological Signal?
The Paleobiological Revolution

Michael J. Benton

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines modern approaches to perhaps the oldest problem in paleontology, specifically the perceived incompleteness of the fossil record. It focuses on the larger-scale patterns that may be gleaned from the fossil record such as global diversification and mass extinction. This chapter evaluates recent approaches in molecular phylogenetics and statistical tests of paleontological sampling error and suggests that while accurately interpreting the fossil record still presents many challenges, the future prospects for paleobiology are quite good.

Keywords:   paleontology, fossil record, global diversification, mass extinction, molecular phylogenetics, statistical tests, sampling error

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