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Bridging the two fossil records; paleontology's "big data" future resides in museum collections

Warren D. Allmon, Gregory P. Dietl, Jonathan R. Hendricks and Robert M. Ross
Bridging the two fossil records; paleontology's "big data" future resides in museum collections (in Museums at the forefront of the history and philosophy of geology; history made, history in the making, Gary D. Rosenberg (editor) and Renee M. Clary (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (November 2018) 535: 35-44

Abstract

There are two fossil records: the physical fossil record, which consists of specimens, and the abstracted fossil record, which is made up of data derived from those specimens. Museum collections are the conduit between these two fossil records. Over the past several decades, the abstracted fossil record has provided many important insights about the major features of life's history, but it has relied mostly on limited types of data (primarily taxonomic occurrence data) derived from ultimately finite literature sources. In contrast, specimen collections and modern tools for digitizing information about them present an opportunity to transform paleobiology into a "big data" science. Digitally capturing non-traditional (e.g., paleoecological, taphonomic, geochemical, and morphological) data from millions of specimens in museum collections and then integrating them with other unique big data resources has the potential to lead to the most important paleontological discoveries of the twenty-first century.


ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Coden: GSAPAZ
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 535
Title: Bridging the two fossil records; paleontology's "big data" future resides in museum collections
Title: Museums at the forefront of the history and philosophy of geology; history made, history in the making
Author(s): Allmon, Warren D.Dietl, Gregory P.Hendricks, Jonathan R.Ross, Robert M.
Author(s): Rosenberg, Gary D.editor
Author(s): Clary, Renee M.editor
Affiliation: Paleontological Research Institution, Ithaca, NY, United States
Affiliation: Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, WI, United States
Pages: 35-44
Published: 20181127
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
ISBN: 9780813725352
ISBN: 9780813795355
References: 89
Accession Number: 2020-013010
Categories: General paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Secondary Affiliation: Cornell University, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2020, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 202009
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