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Fossil Corals Show Catastrophic Sea-Level Rise?


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Author Topic: Fossil Corals Show Catastrophic Sea-Level Rise?  (Read 402 times)
Bianca
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« on: April 27, 2009, 10:22:37 am »








Computer Analysis



Rohde and Muller started with Sepkoski's compendium, a database of every marine-animal fossil ever found. Then they correlated this database with the dates of when the species appeared and disappeared from the fossil record. The dates were gleaned from the International Commission on Stratigraphy's 2004 timescale.

"We took all the best data and put it with the best timescale. It's not what we were looking for, but [Rohde] plotted it up and there it was. We've been wrestling with it ever since," Muller said.

Wolfgang Kiessling is a paleontologist with the Museum of Natural History at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. He said Rohde and Muller's statistical analysis is robust and that the 62-million-year cycle is distinct in the data—but its finding comes as a surprise.

"Looking at my own analysis of Sepkoski's compendium, I do see a similar pattern, although I have resolved the data more coarsely," he said. "Perhaps the periodicity did not strike my eye because so many previous analyses on regularities in extinctions and diversity have proved erroneous in the past."

John Alroy coordinates the Paleobiology Database at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California. He is skeptical about the accuracy of Rohde and Muller's statistical analysis. He does, however, applaud their exhaustive search for the cycle's cause.

"Nice of them to argue in detail that there is no known mechanism, out of many considered that could possibly explain this pattern," he said.

Muller invites the scientific community at large to help find an answer and is working to make publicly available their computerized database of Sepkoski's compendium correlated with the International Commission on Stratigraphy's 2004 timescale.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 10:25:10 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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