Posts Tagged paleobiology
B.L. Beatty about Sepkoski, D. & Ruse, M. (eds.) 2009. The Paleobiological Revolution. – Chicago, University of Chicago Press
The history of palaeontology tends to focus on Darwin, Cope and Marsh, or if someone is particularly scholarly, the Burgess Shale. But with the exception of studies on Darwin, few of these ever delve deeper in the broader meaning of the history of palaeontology in any Kuhnian paradigm shifting nature. That may be because palaeontology, despite all the excitement over new technologies and integrations with developmental biology, morphometrics or cladistics, is still largely dependant on classical methods – one needs to find and dig up the fossils, then identify and describe them, before much else can be done with them. Palaeontology had remained something of a “stamp-collecting” science, at least on a procedural basis as it was perceived, until the development of what most would call paleobiology. This book, edited by David Sepkoski and Michael Ruse, is a chronicle of the history of how paleobiology got “to the high table” in evolutionary biology. Perhaps most impressive, these editors managed to get these chapters together so cohesively, and by many of the original authors of seminal papers in what started in the early 1970s, including Raup, Bambach, Hallam, Sepkoski, and Valentine. It is unfortunate that Steven J. Gould and Jack Sepkoski and Tom Schopf did not live to contribute to this, but it is clear from the repeated focus on these individuals in the chapters by others that their influence is omnipresent despite their lack of authorship here.