Our epistemic access to the past is infamously patchy: historical information degrades and disappears and bygone eras are often beyond the reach of repeatable experiments. However, historical scientists have been remarkably successful at uncovering and explaining the past. I argue that part of this success is explained by the exploitation of dependencies between historical events, entities, and processes. For instance, if sauropod dinosaurs were hot-blooded, they must have been gluttons; the high-energy demands of endothermy restrict sauropod grazing strategies. Understanding such dependencies extends our reach into the past in spite of incomplete data. In addition, this serves as a counterexample to two accounts of
- 1 Introduction
- Snowballs and Explosions: The Basic Idea
- Were Sauropods Endothermic?
- Dependent Entities and Interdependent Explanations
- Smoking Guns and Consilience