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Re: The (long) future of paleontology



Alchemy evolved into the science of chemistry, and that was a good thing.
 My guess is that, rather than die, the discipline of paleontology will
simply get absorbed by the other sciences.  Paleontology as we know it
will be no more, but the study of extinct life will be as popular as it
is today.

This assumes, of course, that paleontology isn't banned by a future
religious fundamentalist Orwellian world government.

<pb>
--
"Am I crazy, Jerry?  Am I?  Or, I am SO sane that you just blew your
mind?!" - Kramer


On Thu, 12 Jan 2006 14:13:16 -0500 "W. F. Zimmerman, wfzimmerman.com"
<wfz@wfzimmerman.com> writes:
> There were some interesting discussions on this list recently about 
> the
> number of genera discovered in each year and the most abundant 
> fossil
> genera.
> 
> 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?  
> 
> 
> 
>