sexta-feira, maio 15, 2009

Entrevistas aos bochechos: 8ª pergunta ao Paul Upchurch

RA: Now, just a general broad question: what would you change in the Vertebrate Paleontology community? What do we need? What is still lacking in our community?

PU: Across the community as a whole we’re pursuing very interesting lines of research, but my personal view is that there are two or three things that we could change a little bit. One is there is still a tendency to think that the final goal of a publication is to produce a cladogram, and I think that is a good starting point… but you have to use it to investigate macroevolutionary issues. The second thing is that we need to become more quantitative in our approaches, we still tend to be viewed by non-paleontologists – perhaps quite unfairly – as a hand-waiving area…one that has a lot of speculation and not does not rely very much on facts or analysis. We actually have the ability to analyze data in a quantitive/statistical fashion, we need more of that… and some of our invertebrate paleontology colleagues are leading the way. The final thing that I think we need to change, which is much closer to my particular interests, is that nearly all the papers that discuss biogeography are essentially speculative. They look at the fossil record, they see the various organisms at various places and various points in time, and they build a story around them. This is not adequate testing of the hypothesis. My view is that we need move from, what is called in philosophical terms, the narrative/story-telling phase. What we need to move into is a more analytical phase, where we actually reject hypothesis or verify them by getting large amounts of data and analyze it quantitatively. The same reasoning holds true for all aspects of paleobiology: we need to become more quantitative in diversity, evolution and things like that.

Sem comentários: