Campus News

Book takes new look at fossil record

Stratigraphic Paleobiology: Understanding the Distribution of Fossil Taxa in Time and Space
By Mark E. Patzkowsky and Steven M. Holland
University of Chicago Press
$105 cloth, $35 paper

Whether the fossil record should be read at face value or whether it presents a distorted view of the history of life is an argument seemingly as old as many fossils -themselves.

In their new book Stratigraphic Paleobiology: -Understanding the Distribution of Fossil Taxa in Time and Space, Mark -Patzkowsky of Penn State and -Steven Holland, professor of geology in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, present a critical -framework for assessing the fossil record based on a modern -understanding of the principles of sediment accumulation. The authors argue that the distribution of fossil taxa is controlled not only by processes of ecology, evolution and environmental change, but also by the stratigraphic processes that govern where and when sediment is deposited. Along the way, the authors demonstrate the great potential of stratigraphic paleobiology to answer critical questions about the history of life.