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UtahFossilHunter

A pair of related papers by David Raup 

Species diversity in the Phanerozoic: a tabulation Raup_1976a_diversity-tabulation.pdf

and Species diversity in the Phanerozoic: an interpretation

Raup_1976b_diversity-interpretation.pdf

These discuss whether or not we can see changes in diversity in the number of species in life over time. He thinks that we cannot see diversity through time because his analyses show diversity reflects the amount of rock being produced. Raup had written this primarily as a response to Valentine’s Phanerozoic Taxonomic Diversity: A Test of Alternate Models

(1078.full.pdf)

which states there is a separate diversity curve in the fossil record. This is a case of science working as it should be: bouncing ideas off each other until the truth shakes out.

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UtahFossilHunter

Nemesis Reconsidered by Adrian L. Melott and Richard K. Bambach

https://arxiv.org/abs/1007.0437 

While the hypothesis that there is a large celestial body knocking meteorites out of the Oort Cloud toward Earth periodically is most likely incorrect, a strong cyclical signal of increased probability of extinction every 26-27 million years is undeniable. Melott and Bambach hypothesize about what is causing the signal and how they figured out the signal exists. 

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UtahFossilHunter

The Shape of Evolution: a comparison of real and random clades

https://cbs.asu.edu/sites/default/files/PDFS/Gould et al--The Shape of Evolution - A Comparison of Real and Random Clades.pdf

 

This wonderful paper is wondering if clades of animals merely go extinct at random or have some kind of pattern behind the madness. This paper tests that hypothesis by using very simple computer models to compare random and real lineages to determine if there is an underlying pattern.

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UtahFossilHunter

Here is a magnificent pair of papers by Alastair J. McGowan and Andrew B. Smith.

First, Ammonoids Across the Permian/Triassic Boundary: a Cladistic Perspective. 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1475-4983.2007.00653.x

This is a paper about the importance of cladistics combined with the fossil record. If trying to figure out the history of a clade of animals it is important not just to rely on the fossil record as it may have gaps such as in this case at the P-Tr boundary. 

 

Next is The Shape of the Phanerozoic Marine Paleodiversity Curve: How much can be Predicted from the Sedimentary Rock Record of Western Europe? 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-4983.2007.00693.x

This looks into the bias of the rock record on the diversity of life through time. The thinking is if only a certain amount of rock is produced during each geologic period that means the amount of life that can be recorded is dependent on the amount of rock being preserved since no rock= no fossils. The other thing is the amount of fossils is also dependent on their being life. This is the classic case of “which is the limiting variable?” At times it seems to be life especially in cases of mass extinctions. In other times it is the amount of rock such as slow downs in plays tectonics. This is a great paper that looks into which variable is the limiting one in Western Europe.

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