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One Long Experiment : Scale and Process in Human History - Ronald E. Martin

One Long Experiment

Scale and Process in Human History

Paperback Published: 29th April 1998
ISBN: 9780231109055
Number Of Pages: 272
For Ages: 22+ years old

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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 Sciencep. 1
Scale, Measurement, and Process: An Introductionp. 9
The Nature of the Stratigraphic Record: Curds and Wheyp. 24
Random Walks in Muckp. 53
Time and Taphonomyp. 72
Biological Processes Inferred from the Fossil Recordp. 95
Cycles and Secular Trendsp. 132
Energy and Evolutionp. 163
Extinctionp. 186
Epilogue: The Nature of Naturep. 212
Referencesp. 217
Indexp. 253
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780231109055
ISBN-10: 0231109059
Series: The Critical Moments and Perspectives in Earth History and Paleobiology
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
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