Introduction to Paleobiology and the Fossil Record

Front Cover
Wiley, Jan 22, 2009 - Science - 608 pages
1 Review
This book presents a comprehensive overview of the science of thehistory of life. Paleobiologists bring many analytical tools tobear in interpreting the fossil record and the book introduces thelatest techniques, from multivariate investigations of biogeographyand biostratigraphy to engineering analysis of dinosaur skulls, andfrom homeobox genes to cladistics.

All the well-known fossil groups are included, includingmicrofossils and invertebrates, but an important feature is thethorough coverage of plants, vertebrates and trace fossils togetherwith discussion of the origins of both life and the metazoans. Allkey related subjects are introduced, such as systematics, ecology,evolution and development, stratigraphy and their roles inunderstanding where life came from and how it evolved anddiversified.

Unique features of the book are the numerous case studies fromcurrent research that lead students to the primary literature,analytical and mathematical explanations and tools, together withassociated problem sets and practical schedules for instructors andstudents.

“..any serious student of geology who does not pick thisbook off the shelf will be putting themselves at a hugedisadvantage. The material may be complex, but the text isextremely accessible and well organized, and the book ought to beessential reading for palaeontologists at undergraduate,postgraduate and more advanced levels—both in Britain as wellas in North America.” Falcon-Lang, H., Proc. Geol.Assoc. 2010

“…this is an excellent introduction to palaeontologyin general. It is well structured, accessibly written andpleasantly informative …..I would recommend this as astandard reference text to all my students withouthesitation.” David Norman Geol Mag 2010

Companion website
This book includes a companion website at:


The website includes: 

·         Anongoing database of additional Practical’s prepared bythe authors

·         Figuresfrom the text for downloading

·         Usefullinks for each chapter

·         Updatesfrom the authors

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About the author (2009)

Michael J. Benton is Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontologyat the University of Bristol. He is interested particularly inearly reptiles, Triassic dinosaurs and macroevolution, and haspublished 50 books and 160 scientific articles.

David Harper is a leading expert on fossil brachiopodsand numerical methods in palaeontology. He is Professor ofPalaeontology in the University of Copenhagen, where he iscurrently Head of Geology in the Natural History Museum of Denmark.He has published over 10 books and monographs, including a coupleof influential textbooks, as well as over 250 scientific articlesand, together with Øyvind Hammer, the widely-used softwarepackage PAST. His time is divided between collection management,exhibition work, research and some teaching.

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