Discovery of Strong Cycles in Fossil Diversity


Details

Date
Wednesday, March 18 2009 - 5:48 pm, PDT
Speaker
Richard Muller
Affiliation
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, UC Berkeley
Description

Richard Muller and his collaborators have recently analyzed the most complete record of marine animal fossils ever compiled, the "Compendium" of Jack Sepkoski, which lists all known fossil marine animal genera back 542 million years. When the fossil diversity (number of distinct genera) is plotted, it shows a very strong 62 Myr cycle. The cycle is particularly evident in the species that endured for relatively short times, as shown in the diagram below (published in Nature, vol 434, 208-210, 10 March 2005).

click here for the diagram

 

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