The Paleobiological Revolution: Essays on the Growth of Modern Paleontology

David Sepkoski (Editor), Michael Ruse (Editor)

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


Paleontology has long had a troubled relationship with evolutionary biology. Suffering from a reputation as a second-tier science and conjuring images of fossil collectors and amateurs who dig up bones, it was marginalized even by Darwin himself, who worried that incompleteness in the fossil record would be used against his theory of evolution. But with the establishment of the modern synthesis in the 1940s and the pioneering work of George Gaylord Simpson, Ernst Mayr, and Theodosius Dobzhansky, as well as the subsequent efforts of Stephen Jay Gould, David Raup, and James Valentine, paleontology became embedded in biology and emerged as paleobiology, a first-rate discipline central to evolutionary studies. This incredible ascendance of this once-maligned science to the vanguard of a field is chronicled in this book. Chapters here aim to capture the excitement of the seismic changes in the discipline.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationChicago
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
Number of pages568
ISBN (Electronic)9780226748597
ISBN (Print)9780226275710, 9780226748610
StatePublished - 2009


  • paleontology
  • evolutionary biology
  • Darwin
  • fossil record
  • theory of evolution
  • George Gaylord Simpson
  • Ernst Mayr
  • Theodosius Dobzhansky
  • Stephen Jay Gould
  • David Raup


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