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57: (Tools of the Trade) Evolution Part II - Paleontological applications

  • Page ID
    22727
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    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): An exquisite speciment of Cryptolithus bellulus from the Alexandria Submember of the Kope Formation, Cincinnati, OH (Kohrs, 2003).
    Key Concepts

    At end end of this chapter, students should be able to:

    • Describe the development of the use of fossils as evolutionary tools.
    • Identify major patterns seen in the fossil record as a result of evolutionary change.
    • Describe the basics of cladistic analysis using fossils.
    • Understand the connections between speciation and extinction.
    • Identify several important mass extinction events in the Earth’s past.
    • Discuss the difference between background extinction and mass extinction.

    “The theory of punctuated equilibrium, proposed by Niles Eldredge and myself, is not, as so often misunderstood, a radical claim for truly sudden change, but a recognition that ordinary processes of speciation, properly conceived as glacially slow by the standard of our own life-span, do not resolve into geological time as long sequences of insensibly graded intermediates (the traditional, or gradualistic, view), but as geologically “sudden” origins at single bedding planes.”

    Stephen J. Gould, “Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle”, 1987


    This page titled 57: (Tools of the Trade) Evolution Part II - Paleontological applications is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Callan Bentley, Karen Layou, Russ Kohrs, Shelley Jaye, Matt Affolter, and Brian Ricketts (VIVA, the Virginia Library Consortium) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.