Abstract

C. H. Holland & M. G. Bassett write:

Negativism in stratigraphy. Temple's critique of methods of biostratigraphical correlation and his particular analysis of the definition of Stage units within the Llandovery Series of the Silurian System, do little to encourage the role of stratigraphy as a practical subject. The Geological Society’s Guide to stratigraphical procedure (Holland et al. 1978) was published in an attempt to provide something that is concise,actually useful to practising stratigraphers,and yet clear in its principles; it is specifically a guide and not a rigid code of rules. It is fair to say that the Guide has been well received and used within its spirit, although not, apparently by Temple who now some 9 years later finds its treatment of biostratigraphy to be unsatisfactory.

It is true that in using an assemblage biozone onedoes not necessarily expect to find all the fossils in question at all the localities. This is not a precise kind of division and,as every where in stratigraphy, the scienceis better when individual authors explain what they mean by what they are doing.But such units are useful. Of course,there is vagueness in using terms such as ‘exceptional abundance’ or criteria for ‘presence’ or ‘absence’ of certain taxa, but these can be qualified as necessary in particular circumstances. Temple’s objections to biozones do not extend in the same way to the consecutive-range biozone, althoughherehe refers to dependence ‘on the assumption of objectivity of tax on definition’, a matter that he raises earlier

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