Abstract

The Lyell Meeting ‘Palaeocomputing: Keyboard to the Past’ of 24 February 1988 celebrated the application of computing and, in particular, microcomputers and their associated numerical and graphical methods, to the analysis of problems in palaeontology and stratigraphy. Sir Charles Lyell was one of the earliest geologists to apply numerical and statistical methods deliberately to the resolution of problems in historical geology, so the resurgence of interest in such methods, fuelled by the advent of the new technology of computers, seemed an appropriate topic for a Lyell Meeting. The meeting was also the first to be sponsored by the Joint Committee for Palaeontology (supported jointly by the British Micropalaeonto-logical Society, the Geological Society, the Palaeontographical Society and the Palaeontological Association).

Several speakers contributing to the meeting had recently published or were about to publish the results reported at the meeting, and therefore only two new papers have been contributed to the Journal. This report gives the sources and extended abstracts of the other contributions.

The meeting was organized in three sections: (a) analysis and presentation of data; (b) analysis of shape; (c) reconstructing the past.

(a) Analysis and presentation of data

D. A. T. Harper & P. D. Ryan commenced the meeting by presenting a paper on ‘The evolution of a statistical system for palaeontologists’ to be published in the Journal.

They gave an historical review of the increasingly sophisticated use of statistics in palaeontology culminating in modern computer-based approaches. Harper & Ryan emphasized that user-friendly microcomputer software is ideal for

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