The ultimate goal of palaeontological research is to reveal the history of life on Earth. The rise of the discipline of palaeobiology since the 1970s has sometimes been called a ’revolution’, given that it places emphasis on the synoptic analysis of the entire fossil record. Since the new millennium, the Paleobiology Database (PaleoDB) has played a central role in this field of research. Rapid advances in computer technology and the spread of the internet have enabled an international community of palaeontologists to develop a database to hold all the information of the known fossil record. The continuously growing database currently contains approximately 1.2 million records of 300 thousand taxa from 53 thousand references. The data allow statistical treatment to be used in order to correct for known biases of the fossil record, employing subsampling methods for data standardization. Thus an increasingly more reliable view is emerging on: (i) the history of life, (ii) similarities and differences of the diversity of certain fossil groups and the global biota, (iii) mass extinction events and (iv) intervals of diversification. Biological patterns through time can now be analyzed and compared with time series of various palaeoenvironmental parameters, in order to search for cause-and-effect relationships between environmental and biotic changes. The present study looks at a broad range of modern PalaeoDB-based research through selected case studies. Hungary has been part of the PalaeoDB community since 2007 (when one of the authors of this paper joined as a member). The first goal was to contribute Hungarian fossil occurrence data. The next step dealt with data analysis and the first results co-authored by Hungarian researchers have been recently published. It is paramount that Hungarian fossil occurrences be published in a format amenable to data entry into the PalaeoDB. It is recommended that more Hungarian palaeontologists recognize the usefulness and significance of the PaleoDB and become active members by contributing new and previously published Hungarian data. It is desirable that a school of palaeobiological research grows in Hungary because this is a field where limited research funding does not prohibit cutting-edge research which can have an international impact. Analytical palaeobiology is one of the most progressive research areas in the field of palaeontology in the 21st century and data analysis from the PaleoDB will continue to play an outstanding role in revealing the history of life.
|Number of pages||14|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology