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Comparing the Geological and Fossil Records: Implications for Biodiversity Studies

Product Code: SP358
Series: GSL Special Publications - print copy
Author/Editor: Edited by A McGowan and A B Smith
Publication Date: 20 December 2011
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The past decade has witnessed a major revival in attempts to separate biodiversity signals from biases imposed by sampling and the architecture of the rock record. How large a problem this poses to our understanding of biodiversity patterns remains debatable, and new approaches are being developed to investigate this question. Here palaeobiologists with widely differing approaches and interests explore the problems of extracting reliable information on biodiversity change from an imperfect geological record. Topics covered range from the application of information-theoretic approaches that identify directional causal relationships to an in-depth study of how geological biases could influence our understanding of dinosaur evolution. A wide range of new insights into the links between the land, shallow-marine and deep-sea rock, and fossil records are presented, making this volume invaluable to anyone in the Earth or life sciences who wishes to remain abreast of this dynamic and rapidly evolving research area.

Type: Book
Ten Digit ISBN: 1-86239-336-2
Thirteen Digit ISBN: 978-1-86239-336-3
Publisher: GSL
Binding: Hardback
Pages: 256
Weight: 0.78 kg


SMITH,A. B. & MCGOWAN, A. J. The ties linking rock and fossil records and why they are important for palaeobiodiversity studies

CHERNS,L. & WRIGHT, V. P. Skeletal mineralogy and biodiversity of marine invertebrates: size matters more than seawater chemistry

HANNISDAL, B. Detecting common-cause relationships with directional information transfer

O’CONNOR, A., MONCRIEFF,C. & WILLS, M. A. Variation in stratigraphic congruence (GER) through the Phanerozoic and across higher taxa is partially determined by sources of bias

WALL, P. D., IVANY,L.C. & WILKINSON, B. H. Impact of outcrop area on estimates of Phanerozoic terrestrial biodiversity trends

BENTON, M. J., DUNHILL, A. M., LLOYD,G.T. & MARX, F. G. Assessing the quality of the fossil record: insights from vertebrates

PETERS,S.E. & HEIM, N. A. Macrostratigraphy and macroevolution in marine environments: testing the common-cause hypothesis

CRAMPTON, J. S., FOOTE, M., COOPER, R. A., BEU, A.G. & PETERS, S. E. The fossil record and spatial structuring of environments and biodiversity in the Cenozoic of New Zealand

ZUSCHIN, M., HARZHAUSER,M. & MANDIC, O. Disentangling palaeodiversity signals from a biased sedimentary record: an example from the Early to Middle Miocene of Central Paratethys Sea

LAZARUS, D. B. The deep-sea microfossil record of macroevolutionary change in plankton and its study

LLOYD, G. T., SMITH,A.B. & YOUNG, J. R. Quantifying the deep-sea rock and fossil record bias using coccolithophores

BARNOSKY, A. D., CARRASCO,M.A. & GRAHAM, R. W. Collateral mammal diversity loss associated with late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions and implications for the future

BENSON,R.B.J. & BUTLER, R. J. Uncovering the diversi?cation history of marine tetrapods: ecology in?uences the effect of geological sampling biases

UPCHURCH, P., MANNION, P. D., BENSON, R. B. J., BUTLER,R. J. & CARRANO, M. T. Geological and anthropogenic controls on the sampling of the terrestrial fossil record: a case study from the Dinosauria



David M. Jones, BA UC Berkeley, MA, PhD UC London, BSc Open, OUGS Journal Editor

Review featured in Open University Geological Society Journal vol 33 (2) 2012

The 13 papers that follow, not surprisingly, range across geological time periods and continents, and all but two of them are written by two or more authors at universities and research groups throughout the world. Thus a range of geological and paleontological expertise has been marshalled to explore these issues. Some papers are more thematic, addressing the issue of criteria for preservation of fossils in the geological/environmental matrix; others are specific to a region, a time period, a fossil type or a fossiliferous environment. All of these papers are technical and written primarily for specialists. Nevertheless, any geologist, of whatever ‘level’ in their studies, will be able to derive much from these papers, even if reading them is a challenge owing to their specialist nature.

……these papers are technical. But there is a richness of data in this anthology from which each reader can explore his or her particular paleontological interest. Each article includes numerous diagrams and charts to summarise the statistics; and has its own extensive list of referenced sources. The book concludes with a seven-page index.

Dmitry A. Ruban

The technical quality of the book is gener¬ally good, especially the high-quality printing, the numerous, detailed, and sometimes colour¬ful illustrations (with graphs prevailing), and the similar style of the various contributions.
The volume edited by McGowan & Smith is an important contribution, and I recommend it strongly to all specialists in palaeobiology.

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