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date: 17 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Some neozoologists (those who study living animals) argue that the palaeozoological record is biased (relative to an existing biological community) and therefore is unsatisfactory for purposes of conservation biology. Indeed, neozoology involves living, dynamic entities whose behaviours, interactions, and ecologies can be directly observed whereas palaeozoology concerns dead, inanimate entities whose behaviours, interactions, and ecologies must be inferred. Biological and ecological principles, however, underpin studies of both living animals and their mortal remains. Knowledge of the ecological and biogeographic histories of taxa and communities revealed by palaeozoology provides insight into how animals may respond to future environmental changes, to anthropogenic processes, and to natural processes. Variables of biodiversity underpinning conservation biology are readily measured in the palaeozoological record, providing unprecedented time depth to monitoring those variables and identifying causes of shifts in their values. The significance of palaeozoological data for conservation biology far outweighs the weaknesses attributed to them.

Keywords: palaeozoology, neozoology, biodiversity, conservation biology, environmental change, taxa

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