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Italo40

The Ecology of fossils

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Italo40

Hello everybody!

Today I want to introduce you to a book that I really found fascinating. It is quite aged and probably some of you have already read it, but I think it's worth anyway!

 

The book is called "The Ecology of Fossils", an illustrated guide edited by W.S. McKerrow and published by Duckworth in 1978.

Essentialy it depicts the life assemblage of dozens of communities of the past, focusing on the British record.

The marine habitats are extensively covered, whilst the terrestrial habitats are much less in number, but the same is true for our knowledge of them.

Let's start the gallery with some pictures of the front cover, the book's presentation and the table of contents.

 

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As you can see most of the book is the devoted to the Palezoic and Mesozoic communities, but the Caenozoic and present day are not left out.

Now it's time for the actual content. Each geological era is given a description, with a focus on the period subdivision and the palaeogeographic setting. Then the  communities are thoroughly descripted, focusing on what environment was exploited (for example reef slope of muddy sea floor), the recurring species and the ecology.  A table accompanies every description. Let's start with the marien communities.

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And now the terrestrial habitats. I pictured one from the Lower Cretaceous and the famous Devonian swamp community from Scotland: the Rhynie lagerstatten in which plant are preserved in chalcedony by the siliceous water and animals underwent a process comparable to preservation in amber. 

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To wind up, I higly suggest reading or just checking the tables of this marvellous work, that really gives you an idea of what fossils looked like in their environment on their own and as a community. I got my copy for a cheap price on online, but it is not a common book. If you ever stumble upon a copy, don't miss it!!

 

 

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UtahFossilHunter

Any idea if there’s been an update to that book to reflect newer information? Seems like it would be a good book to buy regardless of updates, though.:dinothumb:

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Italo40
14 hours ago, UtahFossilHunter said:

Any idea if there’s been an update to that book to reflect newer information? Seems like it would be a good book to buy regardless of updates, though.:dinothumb:

I'm 95% sure that there has been no update unfortunately, but yes, it is still a great introduction to palaeoecology and reconstruction of fossil assemblages!

If you find a copy don't miss it!

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doushantuo

It's no longer a good book,it's outdated,but that's just my personal opinion.

edit: That's nonsense,because I don't know the contents.

BUT: given it's age ,it's BOUND TO BE outdated

 

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Johannes

McKerrow is still ok for ecology of fossil aquatic communities.

 

(Nice ?) Problem is, that palaeoecology has a lot of branches (terrestrial palaeoecology, marine palaeoecology, limnic palaeoecology, microbial palaeoecology, statistical palaeoecology, concepts of palaeoecology, invertebrate palaeoecology, vertebrate palaeoecology, quaternary palaeoecology, plant palaeoecology, etc.) , and you can't get all of the well within one book. And you have cross topics with sedimentology, soil sciences, climatology and so on...

 

Some examples from my palaeoecology-books I like are:

 

Behrenmeyer & Hill 1980 Fossils in the making. - Vertebrate Taphonomy and Palaeoecology.

Cushing & Wright 1967 Quaternary Palaeoecology.

Krasilov 1975 Palaeoecology of terrestrial plants.

Schäfer 1972 Ecology and palaeoecology of marine environments.

Valentine 1973 Evolutionary palaeoecology of the marine biosphere.

Laporte 1968 Ancient environments.

Boucot & Poinar 2010 Fossil behaviour compendium.

Ernst et al. 1987 Lebensraum und Lebenswelt wirbelloser Fossilgruppen.

Behrensmeyer et al 1992 Terrestrial ecosystems through time.

Benton & Harper 2013 Introduction to palaeobiology and the fossil record.

Dodd & Stanton 1981 Palaeoecology - Concepts and Applications.

 

to be continued...

 

I mostly prefer, in addtion to McKerrow: Behrensmeyer et al 1992, Benton & Harper 2013, Krasilov 1975 and Boucot & Poinar 2010. Ernst et al 1987 is very short, has a taxonomical flashlight concept and nice to read. B&P 2010 might have the highest information density, but is mostly an extended reference list for paperes dealing with the different topics.

 

For the last years no all-in-one-compendium in palaeoecology reached my bookboard (unfortunately). For an at least half-good overview you should read all the mentioned books and much more... :headscratch:

 

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doushantuo

Joe,are you telling me you've got Schafer's magnum opus???????????????????????:ighappy:

I don't buy books anymore.

(I have my doubts about the Krassilov ,BTW)

The rest are solid reliable books,and (PERSONAL OPINION!!!!!!!!!!!) also out of date 

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Johannes

Yes, in the english translation. Unfortunately I did not have Kramers original book from 1962. Why?

 

Regarding modern ecological concepts, some issues might be a little outdated, if you prefer your (lyrical) dishes ready and overcooked. But name me a good, actual and complete modern one. :zzzzscratchchin:

 

I try to train my reading filterabilites and can take important information from all of them. Books I did not want to take information or pleasure from leave me relativly fast....

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doushantuo

Schafer's not anywhere on line ,surely??

Joe, i prefer overcooked,but try not to overdo it.:D

If you mean,Ben, are you a wee bit skeptical about the growing number of ''events" and isotope excursions?  

 

Euhh.......

The 1992 Behrensmeyer has the advantage of being a not too large paperback,that MIGHT stop a bullet fired at me  from a medium distance

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Johannes
35 minutes ago, doushantuo said:

If you mean,Ben, are you a wee bit skeptical about the growing number of ''events" and isotope excursions? 

Might be....

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