Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History - Chapter 3, Reconstruction of the Burgess Shale: Toward a New View of Life Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 3, Reconstruction of the Burgess Shale: Toward a New View of Life Summary and Analysis

The standard understanding of discovery in science is destroyed by the Burgess Shale, so Gould begins with undermining some other myths. Field work is sometimes thought to bring about the most important changes, through shocking discoveries in the field; the same mistake is repeated with the myth of the laboratory. In fact, the revolution of the Burgess Shale did not come from a new discovery of some chemical or fossil but instead of a shift in mindset. The Burgess "revision" requires some new scientific tools, but in fact the discovery came from Harry Whttington's analysis of fauna that Walcott had already discovered decades earlier. In 1971, Whittington published his first monograph, Marrella. Soon afterward Whittington brought on two graduate students...

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