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The (long) future of paleontology
There were some interesting discussions on this list recently about the
number of genera discovered in each year and the most abundant fossil
The conversation prompted me to wonder: what is the (long) future for
paleontology? In some ways, it's a zero-sum game with an achievable end
point. After all, all the fossils that ever will be discovered already
exist. Will paleontology eventually become like classic literature, where
scholars argue over the interpretation of an almost static corpus of data?
How much of the ultimate "catch" of fossils have we already found? 1%? 5%?
50? What will (terran) paleontologists be finding 50 years from now? 100?
1000? What new (earth-penetrating?) techniques will transform the field?