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Evolution of Fossil Ecosystems

Major advances in our understanding of the history of life on Earth have been achieved through the study of exceptionally well-preserved fossil sites, known scientifically as fossil Lagerstätten. The examination of such sites provides a surprisingly complete picture of the evolution of ecosystems throughout the ages. In Evolution of Fossil Ecosystems, Paul A. Selden and John R. Nudds celebrate these unique and rare preserves of ancient ecosystems with succinct summaries of fourteen of the better-known fossil Lagerstätten—including the Ediacara in South Australia, the Hunsrück Slate in Germany, the Santana and Crato Formations in Brazil, and the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles.

Beginning with a general introduction to fossil Lagerstätten, Evolution of Fossil Ecosystems goes on, chapter by chapter, to consider each fossil site, detailing its evolutionary position and significance; a brief history of the locality; its background sedimentology, stratigraphy, and paleoenvironment; its biota and paleoecology; and its commonalities with similar Lagerstätten. Considering deposits both marine and terrestrial, the book covers one fossil site from the Precambrian era, five sites from the Paleozoic era, five sites from the Mesozoic era, and three sites from the Cenozoic era.

Illustrated with hundreds of color photographs and drawings, Evolution of Fossil Ecosystems is a sophisticated yet accessible guide to these critical sites. Containing useful appendixes listing important museums, instructions on how to visit the fossil sites, and additional suggested reading, this book will attract students, academics, and professionals in paleontology, evolution, and the earth and life sciences, as well as dedicated amateurs interested in fossils and geology.

192 pages | 258 color plates | 7 1/2 x 10 1/4 | © 2005

Anthropology: Physical Anthropology

Biological Sciences: Evolutionary Biology, Paleobiology, Geology, and Paleontology

Earth Sciences: Paleontology

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Preface
Abbreviations
Introduction
1. Ediacara
2. The Burgess Shale
3. The Soom Shale
4. The Hunsrück Slate
5. The Rhynie Chert
6. Mazon Creek
7. Grès à Voltzia
8. The Holzmaden Shale
9. The Morrison Formation
10. The Solnhofen Limestone
11. The Santana and Crato Formations
12. Grube Messel
13. Baltic Amber
14. Rancho La Brea
Appendix: Museums and Site Visits
Index

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