O'Dea, Aaron, Dillon, Erin, Altieri, Andrew, and Lepore, Mauro. 2017. "Look to the past for an optimistic future." Conservation Biology: The Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology 31 (6):1221-1222. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12997
Conservation Paleobiology is a framework that allows the fossil record to guide conservation efforts. Scientists now use fossils to successfully reconstruct pre-human baselines of populations, communities and ecosystems to create conservation targets, establish long-term records to contextualise modern-day change, and predict future conservation needs (Dietl et al. 2015, Finnegan et al. 2015, Barnosky et al. 2017). Often, however, the prognosis is rather pessimistic because the fossil record reveals the bleak truth of what has been lost since the arrival of humans. Meanwhile, Earth Optimism shows that positivity is critical to maintain engagement in conservation (Knowlton 2017). How can fossils make positive contributions to today's conservation challenges? This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.