Exceptional Fossil Preservation: A Unique View on the Evolution of Marine Life

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David J. Bottjer
Columbia University Press, 2002 - Science - 403 pages
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Most nonscientists are usually aware of fossils, and it is commonly believed that they are extremely rare. In fact, fossils are exceptionally common in many sedimentary rocks and are used extensively in geology for age dating, interpretation of ancient environments, and the discovery of natural resources. However, there is another type of fossil deposit that is truly rare. These rare fossil deposits, called Lagerstätten, preserve the remains of the soft tissues or the articulated skeletal remains of ancient creatures in truly astonishing fine detail. Some of these deposits are world-famous, such as the Burgess Shale, or Solnhofen but there are others dating from many different geological eras from the Paleozoic, up to the Eocene. Recently, a concerted effort has been made to understand the overall significance of these rare fossil deposits. Whereas in the past these deposits were considered novelties, modern researchers are trying to understand what they can tell us about ancient life and environments. New sophisticated techniques (including image and geochemical analyses) are providing enormous new contributions to our knowledge of Lagerstätten sites and to paleobiology in general.

This volume describes many of the most famous Lagerstätten locations worldwide and is complete with over 70 superb halftones showing some of these exotic fossils in all their glory. Paleontologists are beginning to understand why such deposits occur, how they have varied since the advent of marine metazoan life, and how their presence effects our understanding of the evolution of life in the Earth's oceans. In this way, the study of Lagerstätten continues to move towards the mainstream of paleobiological, biological, and geological research, and away from its former status as the examination of mere curiosities.

All those interested in these beautiful and sometimes enigmatic deposits will want to own this book.

  

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Contents

FOSSILLAGERSTATTEN JEWELS OF THE FOSSIL RECORD
1
ENIGMATIC EDIACARA FOSSILS ANCESTORS OR ALIENS
11
CHENGJIANG EARLY RECORD OF THE CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION
35
BURGESS SHALE CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION IN FULL BLOOM
61
BURGESS SHALE TYPE LOCALITIES THE GLOBAL PICTURE
91
ORSTEN DEPOSITS FROM SWEDEN MINIATURE LATE CAMBRIAN ARTHROPODS
117
BEECHERS TROLOBITE BED ORDOVICIAN PYRITIZATION FOR THE OTHER HALF OF THE TRILOBITE
131
HUNSRUCK SLATE WIDESPREAD PYRITIZATION OF A DEVONIAN FAUNA
143
BERLINICHTHYSAUR PRESERVING SOME OF THE EARTHS LARGEST MARINE VERTEBRATES
243
OSTENO JURASSIC PRESERVATION TO THE CELLULAR LEVEL
251
POSIDDONIA SHALE GERMANYS JURASSIC MARINE PARK
265
LA VOULTESURRHONE EXQUISITE CEPHALOPOD PRESERVATION
293
OXFORD CLAY ENGLANDS JURASSIC MARINE PARK
307
SOLNHOFEN PLATTENKALK PRESERVATION WITH ARCHAEOPTERYX
327
SMOKY HILL CHALK SPECTACULAR CRETACEOUS MARINE FAUNA
353
MONTE BOLCA AN EOCENE FISHBOWL
365

BEAR GULCH AN EXCEPTIONAL UPPER CARBONIFEROUS PLATTENKALK
167
MAZON CREEK PRESERVATION IN LATER PALEOZOIC DELTAIC AND MARGINAL MARINE ENVIRONMENTS
185
GRES A VOLTZIA PRESERVATION IN EARLY MESOZOIC DELTAIC AND MARGINAL MARINE ENVIRONMENTS
205
MONTE SAN GIORGIO REMARKABLE TRIASSIC MARINE VERTEBRATES
221
Contributors
379
Index
383
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Judith Bula Wise, professor emerita, has held academic positions at Columbia University and the University of Denver. She is the coeditor, with Marian Bussey, of Trauma Transformed: An Empowerment Response (Columbia University Press) and has developed and served as the first coordinator of the Trauma Response Certificate Program at the University of Denver.

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