Tag: Javier Ortega Hernández

Javier is a palaeobiologist currently working as a PhD student in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge, UK. His main academic interests include the palaeobiology and evolution of invertebrates, particularly arthropods, during the &Cambrian Explosion some 530 million years ago. His current research consists of investigating aspects of the fundamental body organization of some of the oldest arthropod groups in the fossil record, such as trilobites, by making comparisons with the developmental biology of extant representatives. Some of Javier’s other research ventures include the taxonomy and palaeoecology of rudist bivalves and deep-sea trace fossils from Mexico (undergraduate research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico), the morphology and phylogeny of various Cambrian and Ordovician arthropod groups (Master’s degree, University of Bristol, UK) and the study of carbonaceous microfossils of animal origin that complement the information available from the macroscopic fossil record.

Contact Details:

Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EQ, UK.

Patterns in Palaeontology: Parsimony and Palaeobiology

Patterns in Palaeontology
by Javier Ortega-Hernández *1 Introduction: The principle of parsimony, also known as Occam’s razor, has been widely attributed to the English Franciscan friar William of Occam (c. 1288–1348). It states Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate, which translates to ‘Plurality is not to be assumed without necessity’. In other words, when one is faced with a problem or question that can have several different answers, the solution that requires the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct, unless there is evidence that proves that it is false. Parsimony has an enduring influence in most scientific activities, as it allows researchers to make comparisons and choose between different hypotheses that aim to explain a phenomenon using the same body of evidence. The incomplete nature...