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|Correspondence from Ronald Jenner|
Department of Biology and Biochemistry,
University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY, UK.
Historical sciences, including systematic biology and palaeontology, are inferential and extrapolational. In these disciplines meaning and scientific understanding is achieved by mixing scattered observations of the natural world with a priori assumptions, preconceptions, and hypotheses about evolutionary patterns and processes. These interpretational filters define a human standpoint that influences how we narrate the evolutionary past. An important theme in my columns is to explore how exactly this necessary narrative standpoint has influenced and continues to influence how we reconstruct the distant past.
Ronald's research is broadly interested in metazoan deep history, including metazoan, phylogeny, the evolution of animal body plans, and the history of our attempts to understand these topics.