Abstract

The application of new signal analysis techniques provides increased insight into the study of the fossil record and processes of evolution. The fossil record of 622 planktic foraminifera contains data from 200 stratigraphic stages of the past 127 m.y. Time-series analyses (wavelet and Fourier transform) of the planktic foraminifera fossil record were used to discern periodic components in long-term evolution. The correlation function analysis was used to distinguish between random and deterministic behavior of the fossil record. The analyses show that stationary ∼30 m.y. periodicity and complex deterministic patterns occur in the long-term planktic foraminifera evolution, in particular in the extinction record. Our results suggest that the occurrence of intense diversity fluctuations with 3–10 m.y. periodicity after major extinction events may be attributed to nonlinear, self-organized evolutionary response to the availability of new ecospace. This coupled nonlinear-periodic scenario may explain the repetitive appearance of similar morphotypes in ∼30 m.y. intervals.

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