|dc.description.abstract||FROM THE EDITORS: Is taphonomy a fad?
Every so often, generally triggered by an unexpected discovery, certain fields of science experience a sudden burst of popularity, often accompanied by major influxes of research funding and publicity. Recent examples are warm super conductors and cold fusion and, in our own field, mass extinctions. Lower intensity "tremors" also occur when new approaches or concepts are applied to existing problems and compete with (or displace) older approaches. Examples include chaos theory, cladistics, and punctuated equilibria. Reactions to these changes are diverse; some research eagerly embrace these new concepts, others are hesitant to get involved with what might turn out to be a fad. Symposia (sometimes rancorous) are held; new journals or newsletters are started and sometimes die a slow and painful death.
The field of taphonomy is now undergoing a conceptual and research renaissance (perhaps "resurrection" would be a more apt term). Major symposia were held in 1984, 1986, and 1989; each one with more participants than the one before. Nearly 35 interested researchers attended the first "Friends of Taphonomy" get-together at the Denver GSA. This newsletter is a direct result of that meeting; the interest and caliber of research indicated by your response to our newsletter questionnaire argues against taphonomy as an exhausted fad.
Is taphonomy a fad? As the quote above indicates, concern with the adequacy of the fossil record is as old as paleontology itself (indeed, Steno was the first taphonomist). That the fossil record offers a biased view of ancient life is far from novel. It is the realization that the study of fossilization is not simply the study of bias that has launched us into an era of very active research. An extensive, modern literature demonstrates that taphonomic evidence is a rich source of information for sedimentology and paleontology. It is this view, and the interdisciplinary approaches necessary for a proper understanding of taphonomic processes, that we hope to promote with this newsletter. Keep up the good work and let us know your thoughts.||en_US
|dc.description.sponsorship||The editors thank all persons who have contributed in some way to the production of this, the first issue of DDD. We are especially grateful to Larry Gonick, creator and producer of The Cartoon History of the Universe for the original cartoon that graces the first page of the newsletter. Larry's book is fun and scientifically accurate -- beware of the puns.
We are also indebted to Jo An Overs (University of Arizona) for her expertise in Mac-processing and the high quality of production she made possible. Without her magic this issue simply would not have been possible.
Finally, we are very pleased with the enthusiastic response to our first call for information. There is a strong commitment among taphonomists and other persons interested in death, decay and disintegration to communicate and expand their research network. We find this health and encouraging; the future holds much promise for productive research and increase understanding because of your willingness to expand and integrate. So a "kudos" for everyone!||en_US