This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: ? Simple footprints may seem like a cute form of fossil evidence. Actually a lot can be learned about the organisms: one can corroborate estimates of the animal's size; one can measure distance between prints and obtain information about gait, travel speeds, etc.; these interpretations further dictate a host of different physiological processes that might be able to sustain such a manner of locomotion. These types of issues are the main point of this lecture: from a small amount of fossil information, certain biological interpretations are implied simply by the necessary biological attributes that go along with a given footprint size, shape, etc. Fossils can help define ancestral character states and thus help clarify relationships of extant organisms. However, this cannot be done without the extant organism's character states (i.e. fossils alone aren't much help. Is Archaeopteryx birdlike enough to be considered a bird ancestor?...
View Full Document
- Fall '10