Sixth months of the (De-) Extinct Weblog — Extinct


* Max Dresow writes…

Properly, it’s now been six months for the reason that Extinct weblog resumed operations! To mark the event (and in the perfect Extinct vogue), I believed it may be enjoyable to spotlight the content material that’s appeared since January.

This content material could be organized below three broad headings. We’ve had 4 “Featured Essays,” that are equal to what was known as ”Visitor Posts” again when Adrian, Derek, Joyce, and Leonard had been doing many of the writing. (An unintended theme of those essays was the intersection of historic science and local weather science, and specifically the difficulties concerned in evaluating historic and up to date knowledge.) Then there have been eight installments of my little essay collection, Problematica. Lastly, there have been sporadic information digests, a few of which operate as (very) mini-essays on current paleontological analysis.

Earlier than I get to the rundown, let me first say thanks to these of you who’ve been studying and sharing our content material. I’m not very social media savvy, and I’m satisfied that phrase of mouth has performed as giant a task in rebuilding our visitors as my meager efforts at selling the weblog. If you happen to’re prepared, please assist us out by following us on social media and sharing something you discover fascinating (hyperlinks to social could be discovered on the backside, right-hand aspect of the web page). I do know it’s annoying to be instructed to “like and subscribe,” however for a mom-and-pop operation like this one, it truly is vastly invaluable. Additionally, there’s plenty of enjoyable stuff within the pipeline, which I’m excited to share with you all!

Featured Essays

Sizing up the Biodiversity Disaster: Paleocurves, Measurements, and Problematic Inferences” (Federica Bocchi)

> A stimulating essay on the issues concerned in evaluating current and previous “biodiversity” (or, biodiversity and paleodiversity), which additionally introduces the helpful distinction between“data-” and “conceptual incommensurability”

Is Up to date Local weather Change Actually Unprecedented?” (Aja Watkins)

> A particularly compelling have a look at the difficulties concerned in evaluating previous and current local weather change, which additionally discusses the challenges entails within the temporal scaling of historic knowledge

Steady Isotopes in Unstable Instances: Harold Urey’s Paleothermometer and the Nature of Proxy Measurement” (Joe Wilson)

> A splendidly readable essay that interweaves historic reflections on the event of the carbonate-oxygen paleothermometer with philosophical reflections on the character of proxy measurement

Stray Ideas on Contingency Following the MBL-ASU Historical past of Biology Seminar” (Max Dresow)

> Just a little meditative essay on historic contingency, motivated by the current MBL-ASU Historical past of Biology Seminar (“Replaying Life’s Tape: Historic Contingency within the Life Sciences”)


Comparisons with Enamel: Two Hundred Years of Actualism in Paleontology

> An essay that makes use of early dinosaur paleontology and up to date modeling work on Otodus megalodon to discover the character of actualistic reasoning in paleontology

‘Fact Additionally Has its Paleontology’, or When Pragmatism Met Uniformitarianism

> An essay that explores a single phrase in William James’s guide, Pragmatism: “fact additionally has its paleontology…” What’s he speaking about?

Hugh Miller, Misplaced Boulders, and a Problem for ‘Historic Cognitivism’

> An try to sic the historical past of geology on the place Derek Turner calls “historic cognitivism” in environmental aesthetics (roughly, the concept scientific information enhances aesthetic expertise)

The Hassle with Ancestors

> A “mini-review” of Ronald Jenner’s guide, Ancestors in Evolutionary Biology, which focuses on Jenner’s arguments in regards to the supposed hyperlink between basal phylogenetic place and “primitiveness”

Lords of Marble and the Spear

> An essay that explores a current episode within the historical past of paleontological colonialism and asks, below what circumstances may a nation demand the return of a fossil specimen within the absence of demonstrable illegality in its acquisition?

The As soon as and Future Earth

> ***Possibly my favourite installment*** of “Problematica,” which seems to be at an early and a current try to make use of Mars to be taught in regards to the future and previous of Earth, respectively

Historical past, Kindness, and the Nice Evolutionary Faunas

> An essay that tries to place stress on a current account of historic pure sorts utilizing the instance of Jack Sepkoski’s “nice evolutionary faunas”

Methods to Change Your Life Utilizing Punctuated Equilibria

> The primary a part of an anticipated three-part essay, which seems to be at Stephen Jay Gould’s early work in evolutionary paleontology and asks why he was so invested in an idea he would come to vastly distrust: “organic enchancment” (i.e., progress)


Along with our essays, we have now additionally been posting quick information digests, which has given me plenty of apply writing splashy headlines. (These are ordered from latest to oldest.)

A Very Problematic Problematic Fossil” (June 12)

Forthcoming Occasion: Boston Colloquium on the Philosophy of the Geosciences” (April 18)

Give and Take” (March 20)

Treasure Trove from the Early Triassic” (February 17)

Oily Blobs from the Underworld” (February 5)

A ‘Neo-Gouldian’ Argument for Evolutionary Contingency” (January 30)

Sexual Jousting” (January 17)

Sinosauropteryx Turns 25 (Form of)” (January 12)

A Sunburn for Gorgon” (January 10)

A New Addition to the Stem Chook Aviary” (January 9)


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