Graham Park's introductory book has swiftly established itself as a key resource for those looking for a straightforward explanation of what geology tells us about the world. Many objects of great beauty and which excite our curiosity, such as crystals or fossils, are to be found by examining rocks. In particular fossils, whilst interesting in themselves, tell us from their context in geological time of biological evolution and these clues give an insight into the origins of life on earth.
Robert Wynn Jones presents a practical workflow for applied palaeontology, including sample acquisition, preparation and analysis, and interpretation and integration. He then presents numerous case studies that demonstrate the applicability and value of the subject to areas such as petroleum, mineral and coal exploration and exploitation, engineering geology and environmental science.
Paleontology has long had a troubled relationship with evolutionary biology. Suffering from a reputation as a second-tier science and conjuring images of fossil collectors and amateurs who dig up bones, paleontology was marginalized even by Darwin himself, who worried that incompleteness in the fossil record would be used against his theory of evolution. But with the establishment of the modern synthesis in the 1940s and the pioneering work of George Gaylord Simpson, Ernst Mayr, and Theodosius Dobzhansky, as well as the subsequent efforts of Stephen Jay Gould, David Raup, and James Valentine, paleontology became embedded in biology and emerged as paleobiology, a first-rate discipline central to evolutionary studies.