Conservation paleobiology: Putting the dead to work

Gregory P. Dietl, Karl W. Flessa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

180 Scopus citations


Geohistorical data and analyses are playing an increasingly important role in conservation biology practice and policy. In this review, we discuss examples of how the near-time and deep-time fossil record can be used to understand the ecological and evolutionary responses of species to changes in their environment. We show that beyond providing crucial baseline data, the conservation paleobiology perspective helps us to identify which species will be most vulnerable and what kinds of responses will be most common. We stress that inclusion of geohistorical data in our decision-making process provides a more scientifically robust basis for conservation policies than those dependent on short-term observations alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-37
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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