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Fossil Egg Analysis in China suggests Dinosaur Diversity on the wane before K-T event


Crusty_Crab

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Crusty_Crab

This article popped up on my news feed: https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/23/world/dinosaur-egg-fossils-extinction-scn/index.html

 

The paper is apparently paywalled: https://www.pnas.org/doi/abs/10.1073/pnas.2211234119

 

It seems sensational to claim that dinosaur diversity was low based on analysis of some eggs in one location. I'd like to read the paper myself if someone has a way to access it. 

 

My first reactions:

 

How representative are dinosaur egg fossils of dinosaur diversity? Is there taphonomic bias in this locality, which in this context speaks to sampling bias? Even if there is no taphonomic bias, can fossils ever prove the null hypothesis that there was no diversity? Even with no sampling bias, how representative is the sample of species diversity? In many ecosystems, it is not unusual for just a few species to dominate the biomass, even though the ecosystem may be extremely diverse as a whole. For example, we know that the tropics are highly diverse, yet just termites may account for 10% of the animal biomass https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2021.657444/full#B44. Any stochastic, impartial sampling scheme will then find a sample dominated by the most common species, while overlooking rare species that are nonetheless there and contribute to species diversity. The only way to fully account for the full suite of species is to undertake long term and systematic surveys. Anyway, I hope a more in depth read of the paper will answer some of these questions. 

 

 

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