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Book Chapter

The taxonomic structure of periodic extinction

By
J. John Sepkoski, Jr.
J. John Sepkoski, Jr.
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Published:
January 01, 1990

This chapter investigates how different taxa contribute to the 26-m.y. periodicity of extinction observed for marine animals from the middle Permian to Recent. Time series showing percent extinction at the genus level are presented for ten major taxonomic groups: foraminifera, corals, bryozoans, brachiopods, gastropods, bivalves, ammonoids, arthropods, echinoderms, and vertebrates. These groups, especially those with abundant fossil records, exhibit peaks of extinction at most points in the periodic sequence, indicating that periodicity is a property of the marine fauna as a whole and not produced by independent or idiosyncratic variations among a few taxa. Factor analyses of the time series support this conclusion: they show no clear selectivity among large taxonomic groups and indicate that the periodic extinction events, regardless of magnitude, were affecting a broad spectrum of taxa. This is consistent with the hypothesis that periodicity i s caused by clock-like environmental perturbations and not internal dynamics (recovery intervals or chaotic behavior) of faunal evolution. Averaged time series for the taxonomic groups display a peak of extinction in the Callovian Stage of the Middle Jurassic, where a periodic pulse has not been previously identified.

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GSA Special Papers

Global Catastrophes in Earth History; An Interdisciplinary Conference on Impacts, Volcanism, and Mass Mortality

Virgil L. Sharpton
Virgil L. Sharpton
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Peter D. Ward
Peter D. Ward
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Geological Society of America
Volume
247
ISBN print:
9780813722474
Publication date:
January 01, 1990

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