Addressing the history of the earth in terms of geological process and the resolution of the fossil record, Ronald Martin presents a lucid report on the current state of knowledge of a group of interconnected themes -- process, scale and hierarchy, and methodologies of historical sciences. He examines several pivotal questions about geologic history: What is the evidence for processes that occur over long periods of geologic history? Why are these long-term earth processes significant to the human race? How does one test hypotheses using the fossil record? And what, at the present state of knowledge, are the limits of that record?
As Martin explains, the project of the geologist is to interpret natural phenomena by integrating data into larger contexts, and constructing a historical narrative. Through the critical examination of these narratives, geologists can determine how the earth evolved into its present state. As Martin points out, however, the scale employed in measurement can cause wide variations in the results of any inquiry into geologic process. Martin addresses a wide range of topics, including taphonomy, bioturbation and temporal resolution, cycles of carbon dioxide, global cooling, and extinction. He richly supplements the theoretical framework with down-to-earth explanations of concepts and succinct definitions of key terminology.
"One Long Experiment" is an illuminating contribution to the literature, providing a much-needed background on scale and process for students and professionals in paleontology, stratigraphy, and related geologic disciplines.
|Prologue: Methodology and Proof in Historical Science||p. 1|
|Scale, Measurement, and Process: An Introduction||p. 9|
|The Nature of the Stratigraphic Record: Curds and Whey||p. 24|
|Random Walks in Muck||p. 53|
|Time and Taphonomy||p. 72|
|Biological Processes Inferred from the Fossil Record||p. 95|
|Cycles and Secular Trends||p. 132|
|Energy and Evolution||p. 163|
|Epilogue: The Nature of Nature||p. 212|
|Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: The Critical Moments and Perspectives in Earth History and Paleobiology
For Ages: 22+ years old
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 29th April 1998
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 16.51 x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.36