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The Paleobiological Revolution: Essays on the Growth of Modern Paleontology 0th Edition

ISBN-13: 978-0226748610
ISBN-10: 0226748618
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Editorial Reviews


“The utter transformation of paleontology over the past forty years is too often viewed as either obvious and inevitable (by its enthusiasts), or misguided and unimportant (by its critics). Both of these extreme views could be avoided by a greater familiarity with the history of this revolution, which is unfortunately viewed by most professionals as of merely antiquarian interest, and this sense has been passed on to our students. The varied chapters in this fine volume provide an excellent antidote to this situation. Every paleontologist, and especially every graduate student, should read this book!"

(Warren Allmon, Cornell University)

“Sepkoski and Ruse have assembled a wonderfully rich collection of essays that looks at diverse aspects of current science and provides sophisticated reflection on leading actors, probing historical and philosophical analyses, and important interpretations by the contributors. This is an important contribution to our understanding of scientific change generally as well as paleobiology and evolution specifically.”

(Jane Maienschein, Arizona State University)

“Paleontologists are indeed back at the high table of evolutionary theorists, as this splendid book vividly demonstrates. With its mix of retrospective reviews and analyses of recent developments, the book gives us rich materials for evaluating what surely deserves to be called a scientific revolution. As a paleontologist, back in the 1960s I was excited by the first stirrings of the new paleobiology; now, as a historian, I'm delighted to see such a fine volume on what it has since become, and how it got there.”

(Martin Rudwick, Research Associate, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge and Professor Emeritus of History at the University of California, San Diego)

“Tom Schopf elevated the term paleobiology to new heights when he assembled his 1972 book Models in Paleobiology and spearheaded the founding of the journal Paleobiology—a journal, I am happy to say, that is read by many who do not work directly with fossils. If there is still some distance to go before paleobiology is fully integrated with evolutionary theory, the importance of the fossil record in understanding—not only the course of evolution, but also its pulse and pace, and even some of its mechanics—is nonetheless undeniable. The twenty-six papers in this volume probe the early days of this resurgence, and capture some of the excitement rippling through the field as paleontologists rediscovered the powerful evolutionary implications of their data.”

(Niles Eldredge, Division of Paleontology, The American Museum of Natural History)

“Sepkoski and Ruse’s volume opens up the door to a long-neglected area in the history of evolutionary biology, one that began with Darwin and after a long period of eclipse has come back to illuminate a wide variety of macro- and microevolutionary processes.”

(Garland E. Allen, Washington University)

“The twenty-six scholarly essays in The Paleobiological Revolution document and celebrate the rise of paleobiology—paleontology as a biological science—which established the study of the fossil record as a unique contributor to evolutionary biology. Fossils became considered as once-living organisms with real physiologies and ecologies, populating ancient environments and forming ecosystems that may have no close modern analogs. . . . In this volume we find the scientific bones of the paleobiology revolution carefully examined both by historians of science and as personal accounts from many of those who played a part in shaping the transformation. Together they tell the tale, heralded by John Maynard Smith, of the return of paleontologists to the ‘high table’ of evolutionary biology.”


(Rachel Wood Science 2009-08-21)

"This invaluable volume – a must read for anyone interested in evolutionary theory or twentieth century biology and paleontology – may be the first word on the history of the paleobiological revolution, but it is certainly not the last."

(Paul D. Brinkman Journal of the History of Biology)

“A stimulating and eminently readable, historical account of the revolution in paleontology and the emergence of the field that became known as paleobiology.”
(J. Thompson Evolution)

“This insightful volume should serve as a foundation for future work in the largely unexplored realm of history and philosophy of paleontology.”
(Keynyn Brysse Isis)

About the Author

David Sepkoski is Senior Research Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. He is author of Rereading the Fossil Record: The Growth of Paleobiology as an Evolutionary Discipline, also published by the University of Chicago Press. Michael Ruse is the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University and the author or editor of nearly thirty books, including The Darwinian Revolution, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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