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1 April 2014 Taxon-Free Methods of Palaeoecology
Peter Andrews, Sylvia Hixson
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Four types of taxon-free analysis of mammalian faunas are discussed to come to an understanding of the degree to which they are independent of taxonomy. Species richness patterns and size distributions of faunal assemblages provide general indications of palaeoecology and are based entirely on species identifications; ecomorphology targets specific taxonomic groups, but within the group it is partly independent of taxonomy; community ecology describes mammalian communities by their levels of diversity within distinct ecological categories rather than by their species, and two approaches are based either on qualitative evidence (ecological diversity) or on quantitative evidence, combining ecomorphological data for whole communities (community ecomorphology). No method is entirely taxon-free, but all have stronger ecological foundations than methods based on linking fossil species of unknown habitat with their supposed habitats based on their relationships with their living relatives.

© Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publishing Board 2014
Peter Andrews and Sylvia Hixson "Taxon-Free Methods of Palaeoecology," Annales Zoologici Fennici 51(1-2), 269-284, (1 April 2014).
Received: 18 June 2013; Accepted: 21 August 2013; Published: 1 April 2014
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