History of North American decapod paleocarcinology
The moderate fossil record not only allows the paleontologist to maintain an overview of all decapods, but, because the decapods are an under-studied group, provides opportunities to knowledge of this important group. This historical note attempts to provide an overview of major themes in fossil decapod research, a chronology of this research in North America, a regional analysis of its development, and a brief stratigraphic review. The high standing Rockies began rapidly eroding and the derived sediment transported to the continental margins, eventually filling in the Western Interior Seaway and extending the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains hundreds of kilometers beyond the old edge of the North American continent. The complex bodies of crabs lend themselves to functional morphologic analyses that will eventually allow paleontologists to confidently assign fossil species to certain locomotory and feeding groups. The history of paleocarcinology on the Atlantic and eastern Gulf coastal plains include the earliest notes of fossil decapods by Hitchcock, Lyell, and Stimpson.