Geologists and palaeontologists may be dismayed to hear that ‘with all the recent advances in molecular and evolutionary biology, one could almost wonder why we need the fossil record’. As an antidote to this view one might consider the claim of Grasse (1977) that the only real evidence of evolution comes from the fossil record, not directly from biology. Of course we need not take either extreme view too seriously and, as the editors of this 12-chapter compilation point out, the fossil record gives us the deep-time perspective that cannot be observed in biological studies. The fossil record is what...

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