Palaeoecology

Palaeoecology is the study of past ecosystems using palaeontological methods. Fossil data are used to reconstruct interactions between different species and between species and their environment.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • Comments and Opinion |

    Macroscopic organisms from the late Ediacaran period have often been described as failed experiments in the history of life. We argue that the field of Ediacaran palaeobiology should dispense with unhelpful historical classification schemes and embrace phylogenetic systematics if we are to establish the evolutionary relevance of these fossils.

    • Frances S. Dunn
    •  & Alexander G. Liu
  • News and Views |

    Agriculture is one of the key innovations of human societies, yet the nature of and reasons for its emergence are debated. A new model that hindcasts past global population suggests that an improving climate increased plant productivity and human population density, facilitating domestication.

    • Dolores R. Piperno
  • News and Views |

    Rising oxygen levels may have facilitated the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event according to a reconstruction of atmospheric oxygen concentrations.

    • Alycia L. Stigall
    Nature Geoscience 10, 887-888
  • News and Views |

    The evolutionary relationships between extinct species are almost exclusively based on the shape and structure of their fossil specimens. Now, a spectroscopic technique that records a ‘chemical fingerprint’ of fossil plant cuticles is being used to re-interpret the histories of thousands of specimens languishing in museum collections.

    • Jennifer C. McElwain
    Nature Plants 3, 17121