Fossils and the future

Paleontology in the 21st century

Ed.: Richard H. Lane; Fritz F. Steininger; Roger L. Kaesler; ; Willi Ziegler; Jere Lipps

2000. 290 pages, 17 figures, 5 tables, 910 g
Language: English

(Senckenberg Bücher, Nr. 74)

ISBN 978-3-510-61053-2, bound

availability and price on request

BibTeX file


Synopsis top ↑

The science of paleontology has seen major advances during the past decade. Paleontologists have learned to generate and test hypotheses using numerical methods. Statistical uncertainties in the temporal, spatial and environmental resolution of fossil data can be quantified unsing probabilitistic approaches to the point where most estimates of regional and global fossil diversity have been shown to be found in the face of additional sampling.

In the coming decade, paleontological research will require considerable restructuring measures, such as strong interdisciplinary ties and collaborative efforts and a new orientation.

The present volume outlines the changes that lie ahead for paleontological research and outlines the research themes which will most likely be most promising in this decade. The book attempts to present more than a vision of paleontology in the new century in that it tries to present a holistic view by including not only pure research, but also considers other parties and realms e.g. paleontology in the government, consultancies, industrial paleontology, museums, and paleontological societies.

Issues of public outreach are addressed, as is the issue of publications, mass media, databases and the destiny of university education.

Contents top ↑

Section I - Introduction 1
Workshop Summary 1
Section II - Pan Paleontological Issues 7
Issue 1: The Image of Paleontology and Public Outreach 7
Issue 2: Funding Scenarios for International Research Initiatives 13
Issue 3: Human Resources and Education 19
Issue 4: Interdisciplinary 29
Issue 5: Paleoinformatics 31
Issue 6: Research Initiative: Past and Future Dynamics of the Biosphere 37
Issue 7: Sepkoski Initiative 41
Section III - Organizations 43
Topic A: Paleontology in Academia: Recent Trends and Future Opportunities 43
Topic B: Commercial Collectors 53
Topic C: Consultancies 65
Topic D: Geobiology: Funding Strategies 69
Topic E: Paleontology in Government 73
Topic F: The Role of Avocational Paleontologists 79
Topic G: Industrial Paleontology 83
Topic H: Paleontology in Museums and Institutes 103
Topic I: Societies 109
Section IV - Paleontological Themes 115
Topic J: Astropaleobiology 115
Topic K: Biostratigraphy and Geochronology 119
Topic L: The Analytical Approach to Morphology 133
Topic M: Geobiology: Problems and Prospects 149
Topic N: Macroevolution 155
Topic O: Paleoclimatology 167
Topic P: Paleobiology and Taphonomie 173
Topic Q: Paleooceanography 179
Topic R: Systematics - The Sine Qua Non of Paleontology 183
Section V - Paleontological Infrastructure 191
Topic S: Computers, Quantification and Databases 191
Topic T: Collections in Paleontology 203
Topic U: Paleontology and the Mass Media 215
Topic V: Public Outreach 223
Topic W: Publications 227
Topic X: Governmental Regulations and Paleontology: A comperative Report 239
Topic Y: University Education: the Issues 259
Appendix 1: Meeting Organization 265
Appendix 2: List of Participants 269
Appendix 3: Whom to contact 283