Wavelet transform and other signal analysis techniques suggest that the planktic foraminiferal (PF) long-term evolutionary record of the last 127 Ma can be attributed to complex periodic and nonlinear patterns. Correlation of the PF extinction pattern with other geological series favors an origin of the ∼30 Ma periodicity and self-organization by quasi-periodic mantle-plume cycles that in turn drive episodic volcanism, CO2-degassing, oceanic anoxic conditions, and sea-level fluctuations. Stationary ∼30 Ma periodicity and a weak secular trend of ∼100 Ma period are evident in the PF record, even without consideration of the mass extinction at the K–T boundary. The 27–32 Ma periodicity in the impact crater record and lows in the global sea-level curve, respectively, are ∼6.5 Ma and ∼2.3 Ma out of phase with PF-extinction data, although major PF-extinction events correspond to the bolide impacts at the K–T boundary and in late Eocene. Another six extinction events correspond to abrupt global sea-level falls between the late Albian and early Oligocene. Self-organization in the PF record is characterized by increased radiation rates after major extinction events and a steady number of baseline species. Our computer model of long-term PF evolution replicates this SO pattern. The model consists of output from the logistic map, which is forced at 30 Ma and 100 Ma frequencies. The model has significant correlations with the relative PF-extinction data. In particular, it replicates singularities, such as the K–T event, nonstationary 2.5–10 Ma periodicities, and phase shifts in the ∼30 Ma periodicity of the PF record.

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