11. Multiproxy Paleoecology
Reconstructing Evolutionary Context in Paleoanthropology
- David R. Begun
Published Online: 14 JAN 2013
Copyright © Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
A Companion to Paleoanthropology
How to Cite
Reed, K. E. Multiproxy Paleoecology, in A Companion to Paleoanthropology (ed D. R. Begun), Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118332344.ch11
- Published Online: 14 JAN 2013
Print ISBN: 9781444331165
Online ISBN: 9781118332344
- evolutionary paleoecology;
- multiproxy paleoecology;
Paleoecology is the study of the relationship of the paleoenvironment with fossil organisms and the fossil organisms' interactions with one another, as well as possible taphonomic biases. Multiproxy refers to using as many avenues of research as possible to test paleoecological hypotheses. This chapter outlines the fundamentals of paleoecology, including underlying principles, and discusses various research methods, delineating their strengths and weaknesses. Various abiotic and biotic factors build on one another such that climate, soils, geomorphology, and other geological processes are responsible for the vegetation, which, in turn, plays a fundamental role in controlling what other life forms can be supported. Therefore, the interpretation of paleoecological data requires an understanding of pattern and process analogy, geological processes, climatic processes, taphonomic issues, extant habitats and an appreciation of extant animal communities. Studies of contemporaneous faunas play a critical role in investigating aspects of community ecology.