Below are indicated the principal steps we go through, in the course of a paleontological study. Arrows show the succession of steps, so it is logical to start at the bottom of this page.
The data and and interpretations are recorded , disseminated and archived . They are then available to feed back into the processes of observing, identifying and interpreting. [Click here to go on to Closing Remarks.]
The fossils are interpreted . Here I exclude identification, and even modifications of the taxonomic system, since they are more conveniently covered as aspects of identification. I use the term to cover determinations of age, and interpretations of paleoenvironment, evolution, paleobiology, and so on.
They are viewed in the context of other properties and constituents of the sediment sample(s).
The fossils are "identified " - a term which can have many different meanings. I include here several levels of identification, up to and including revisions of a taxonomic system in which the fossils are placed. If the sedimentary context is not considered, and if there is no interpretation, the final product is a taxonomic paper - a jump directly to being recorded .
An assemblage of objects is observed , in a (series of) microscope slide(s), from a single sample or a sedimentary sequence or a geographic spread .