A warrant for applied palaeozoology


(Tel: 573-882-9850; Fax: 573-884-5450; E-mail: lymanr@missouri.edu).


It has been argued by some neozoologists (those who study living animals) that the palaeozoological record is biased and incomplete (relative to an existing biological community) and therefore should not be consulted for purposes of conservation biology. An article published in a biology journal in 2011 lists numerous reasons why natural history collections (NHCs) of skins and skulls of animals collected over the past century or two are exceptionally valuable to conservation biologists because those collections provide significant time depth to numerous variables that document global biological change. Many of those same variables can be, and have been, identified in the palaeozoological record. Those variables are of major value to conservation biology, whether their values are taken from 100-year-old NHCs or from palaeozoological remains. Empirical examples in which the identified variables are measured in palaeozoological contexts indicate that the palaeozoological record should indeed be consulted by conservation biologists and can no longer be considered unsatisfactory for modern resource management.