Synopses & Reviews
Ichnology--the study of trace fossils such as tracks, burrows, and eggs--presents the scientist with a jigsaw puzzle with a difference, writes Stephen Donovan. While body fossils of organisms are generally recognizable as belonging to a particular organic group, he explains, trace fossils are usually anonymous. Except in rare cases in which the animal died at the end of its trace, or the trace has an especially distinctive morphology--such as the dinosaur trackway--identifying trace fossils is almost always a matter of some speculation. Nonetheless, lessons learned from the study of trace fossils have proven invaluable in fields ranging from petroleum exploration to palaeoecology.
In this volume Donovan brings together a group of the world's leading experts to focus on the palaeoecological and evolutionary aspects of ichnology in both marine and nonmarine environments. In contrast to previous works on ichnology, which have emphasized the importance of trace fossil data to geologists in reconstructing the Earth's history, this book brings to light new information on the biology of the organisms that produced the trackways and the ancient environments in which they flourished.