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02.10.2014 11:06

Coming Soon: A Global View on Vertebrate Paleobiology by Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra, Norman MacLeod (Eds.).

Many associate paleontology with dinosaurs or with some other charismatic extinct group of organisms. In reality, the study of ancient life encompasses many subjects not only in terms of the kind of organisms but also in terms of the subjects of investigation. Research on palaeobiology is very much tied with many significant developments in fields such as ecology, geology, oceanography, evo-devo and evolutionary biology. The integration of disciplines opens new opportunities for research but it also throws questions about the boundaries among them and the identity of a field.


The University of Zurich palaeontologist Marcelo Sánchez has edited the book Issues in Vertebrate Palaebiology: a Global View that examines the multiplicity of research in palaeobiology. Together with a colleague at the Natural History Museum in London where he worked before moving to Zurich, he presents 22 interviews with authors with diverse geographic and thematical backgrounds.


What is palaeobiology? Where is it going? How does it relate to classic palaeontology? What motivates people to become palaeobiologists? Twenty-two experts with diverse geographical and thematic back-grounds discuss their personal views on fundamental questions on the goals and issues in palaeontology. This collection of interviews and additional essays illustrate the diversity of approaches, interests, personalities, backgrounds, and predictions for the future of this intellectually rich discipline.

The collection of interviews addresses the types of roles palaeontologists fill in academic, commercial, governmental/regulatory, and scientific communities and the manner in which they relate to their biological and earth science colleagues.  The practice of palaeobiology differs between countries, reflecting differences in needs, opportunities, and levels of resources. With its illustrations and casual language the book serves as an introduction to the multiplicity of questions and interests of a scientific discipline. The book can be bought at the Museum of Zoology and Palaeontology and at the Campuswelt Irchel store.

Scidinge Hall Zürich 2014, 287 pages, 13 x 21 cm, ISBN: 978-3-905923-17-9. Price 11 £ / 14 € / 16 CHF / 18 US $

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