needed. Data and samples taken on continental margins and from wells drilled by industry represent an invaluable resource, as do many kinds of fossil data. The data base available to scientists could be expanded by several orders of magnitude.
New equipment offers much potential that has yet to be exploited in paleontology in the areas of isotopic analysis; identification of trace organic and inorganic compounds, DNA sequencing and hybridization, new multivariate techniques, digitizing techniques for three-dimensional quantification of morphology, application of geographic information systems (GIS) to quantitative historical biogeography, and computer-interfaced digitizers (some three-dimensional and some linked to light microscopes or scanning electron microscope systems) for morphometric studies.
During the past few years, new dating techniques have greatly improved resolution in the temporal correlation of geological and biological events and in the measurement of rates for a wide variety of processes. These techniques include identification of key chemical markers in stratigraphic sequences, quantitative biostratigraphic correlation, application of new radiometric methods, and utilization of secular trends in stable isotope ratios. Not only the development of new dating techniques, but also the refinement and ingenious application of existing methodologies, will benefit numerous areas of research in the decades to come.
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