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Evolutionary Patterns Growth, Form, and Tempo in the Fossil Record  In Honor of Alan Cheetham cover
  • ISBN: 9780226389318
  • ISBN10: 0226389316

Evolutionary Patterns Growth, Form, and Tempo in the Fossil Record in Honor of Alan Cheetham

by Frank K. McKinney

  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 08/01/2001
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With all the recent advances in molecular and evolutionary biology, one could almost wonder why we need the fossil record. Molecular sequence data can resolve taxonomic relationships, experiments with fruit flies demonstrate evolution and development in real time, and field studies of Galapagos finches have provided the strongest evidence for natural selection ever measured in the wild. What, then, can fossils teach us that living organisms cannot?

Evolutionary Patterns demonstrates the rich variety of clues to evolution that can be gleaned from the fossil record. Chief among these are the major trends and anomalies in species development revealed only by "deep time", such as periodic mass extinctions and species that remain unchanged in form for millions of years. Contributors explore modes of development, the tempo of speciation and extinction, and macro-evolutionary patterns and trends. The result is an important contribution to paleobiology and evolutionary biology, and a spirited defense of the fossil record as a crucial tool for understanding evolution and development.

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