Mesozoic Matters: Inferring Behavior from the Fossil Record

Here is a heads up for those with a moderate interest in the history of life in the deep past.

The (London) Journal of Zoology for the next several weeks is making available the contents of a special issue on paleoethology for free (rather than the extortionate price that most science journal charge per article). The articles are written by some of the best paleontology writers active today, including Darren Naish (who reviews the evidence for ancient bird behavior), A.A. Farke (on the evidence for fighting and defense among ornithischians—the herbivorous non-avian dinosaurs), Richard Fortey, the best writer (ever) on trilobites, and Dave Horne, who has blogged for many years from his study of Chinese dinosaurs. There is even an article on tyrannosaurids, so have at it.

Even if you don’t see the benefit of learning about long dead organisms, you might be interested in the thought experiments necessary to infer behavior from fossils.

You can find the site: here.

I think the reason Wiley is making this available is that many of the authors are strong proponents of open access for science papers. This position, it seems to me, is unassailable when public money is used to fund the research. The only counterargument is the currently reactionary vogue that all things ought to be determined by profit maximizers. If I could find a scientific paper on how that idea became the new vogue I would actually pay the exorbitant rate that journals charge to read the article (during a 24 hour period).

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