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Terrestrial Conservation Lagerstatten: Windows Into the Evolution of Life on Land
Evolutionary biologists have long been concerned by the incompleteness of the fossil record. Although our knowledge of the diversity of life in 'deep time' has improved, many lineages of extant animals and plants still have only sparse fossil documentation. Even groups with 'hard parts' that render them suitable for fossilization often only have a limited record. Thus, although the fossil record is viewed as critical to the reconstruction of the evolutionary history of life, many biologists question its utility. Fortunately, discoveries of occurrences of exceptionally preserved fossils, known as conservation Lagerstatten (Konservat-Lagerstatten), shed much light on the past diversity of life. This book reviews selected conservation Lagerstatten for terrestrial animals and plants throughout the Phanerozoic worldwide, and includes sites in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. The book's essays demonstrate the enormous progress made in recent years, both in documenting the biodiversity of such extraordinary fossil deposits and also in elucidating the geological conditions for and biogeochemical processes behind the formation of conservation Lagerstatten. The book's contributions have been written by eminent paleontologists who have enlisted additional expertise to make each chapter as comprehensive as possible. The volume is edited by Nicholas C. Fraser of the National Museum of Scotland and Hans-Dieter Sues of the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
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