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Article: The value of outline processing in the biometry and systematics of fossils

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 23
Part: 4
Publication Date: December 1980
Page(s): 757 768
Author(s): G. H. Scott
Addition Information

How to Cite

SCOTT, G. H. 1980. The value of outline processing in the biometry and systematics of fossils. Palaeontology23, 4, 757–768.

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The Palaeontological Association (Free Access)


Widespread use of gross dimensions and similar point-to-point measurements in biometric studies of fossils is probably due more to instrumental limitations and the influence of preceding studies than to theoretical considerations. Are such data suitable for classificatory studies which are heavily dependent on visual assessment of morphology? Theory suggests that the outlines of objects are particularly significant in visual recognition because of their high information content. They provide a parsimonious description of form. Biometry can best supplement qualitative visual processes in taxonomic studies by treating outline data in ways that replace the information lost due to the short-term, degradable nature of visual data stored in the human memory. Variation in the axial outlines of the foraminifer Globorotalia puncticulata (Deshayes) is examined as an example.
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