Pattern Formation and Function in Palaeobiology

  • Enrico Savazzi


In the study of biological organisms, the perspective of palaeobiologists is radically different from that of most biologists. For the latter, verifying a hypothesis usually involves experiments that alter the properties of an organism (and/or of its, immediate surroundings), with the purpose of observing directly the effects of these changes on the organism itself. Although palaeobiologists are aware that they are studying the properties of living organisms, they lack the possibility of performing such direct experiments on fossils. For this reason, palaeobiologists are intrinsically more willing than biologists to seek indirect evidence and alternative methods of investigation. Thus, palaeobiologists have developed and used an array of indirect practical and conceptual methods for studying the function and development of morphological characters in fossils [23, 30].


Colour Pattern Shell Growth Gastropod Shell Shell Geometry Terrestrial Gastropod 


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© Springer Japan 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enrico Savazzi
    • 1
  1. 1.UppsalaSweden

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