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A Historical Resume of Research in Neogene Marine Molluscan Paleontology and Biostratigraphy in Western North America

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Abstract

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Investigations of Neogene marine mollusks of the Pacific coast of North America span a 125-year period dating from Conrad's (1848) initial description of Miocene mollusks from the Astoria Formation of Oregon. Pulses in research on Neogene mollusks occurred during the periods 1850 to 1860, 1900 to about 1945, and 1950 to the present. The first phase involved initial description of species and was an outgrowth of geologic reconnaissance of the Pacific coast of the United States. The second phase was stimulated, in large part at least, by the need for stratigraphic paleontology in petroleum exploration in California. A surge of publications that began about 1950 and intensified during the 1960's defines a third period of research. This current phase seems to reflect the increasing importance of paleontology in deciphering earth history. It also marks a basic change from the description of new taxa toward the use of fossil illustrations and refined taxonomy in faunal analysis and documentation.

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