A History of Ideas in Ichnology


Developments in Sedimentology

4. History of palaeontology
About This Project

Although the concept of ichnology as a single coherent field arose in the nineteenth century, the endeavor of understanding traces is old as civilization and involved cultural areas worldwide. In fact, fossil and recent traces were recognized since prehistoric times and their study emerged from the European Renaissance. This progression, from empirical knowledge toward the modern concepts of ichnology, formed a major research field which developed on a global scale. This report outlines the history of ichnology by (1) exploring the individual cultural areas, (2) tracing a comprehensive bibliographic database, and (3) analyzing the evolution of ichnology semiquantitatively and in a graphical form (“tree of ichnology”). The results form a review and synthesis of the history of ichnology, establishing the individual and integrated importance of the different ichnological schools in the world.