Waves of Extinction Add Up – #365papers – 2018 – 47

Wang and Zhong, 2018, Estimating the number of pulses in a mass extinction: Paleobiology, 1-20

What’s it about?

The problem with the rock record is that it is incomplete. This means that what was really a gradual extinction could look abrupt, or that a large-scale mass extinction can look like it was spread out. The authors of this paper present a method by which it is possible to determine how many pulses or waves of extinction added up to what we consider a mass extinction.

Why does it matter?

Importantly, the method of this paper doesn’t specify a number of pulses of extinction for a single mass extinction. Instead, it presents a means to figure out how many pulses are most likely to have occurred in order to explain the distribution of fossils in the rock record.

Why did I read this?

Heh. Thinking about re-vamping my vertebrate paleontology class into something focused on global change and extinction. This seemed relevant.

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