CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: French zoologist who was the founder of comparative anatomy and paleontology. He was an expert on fossil bones and one of the most influential proponents of catastrophism". Although Cuvier's theory of catastrophism did not last he based the science of palaeontology on a firm empiricalfoundation. He introduced fossils into zoological classification showing the progressive relation between rockstrata and their fossil remains and by demonstrated in his comparative anatomy and his reconstruction of fossil skeletons the importance of functional and anatomical relationships."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: hypothetico-deductive explanation, hypothetico-deductive reasoning CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A type of scientific reasoning in which a hypothesis is made, predictions are deduced, and then the hypothesis tested for accuracy against archaeological data. Deductive reasoning is used to find and verify the logical consequences. Developed by Sir Isaac Newton in the late 17th century, it is a procedure for the construction of a scientific theory that will account for results obtained through direct observation and experimentation and that will, through inference, predict further effects that can then be verified or disproved by empirical (observed or experienced) evidence derived from other experiments.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A belief that science consists of theories about the empirical world, that its goal is to develop better theories (achieved by finding mistakes in existing theories), and that theories should be vulnerable to error and open to testing.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: An argument used to support assumptions about the way the world works, employed by archaeologists to support interpretations of empirical observations.