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Testing for variation in taxonomic extinction probabilities: a suggested methodology and some results

Paleobiology

By:
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Abstract

Several important questions in evolutionary biology and paleobiology involve sources of variation in extinction rates. In all cases of which we are aware, extinction rates have been estimated from data in which the probability that an observation (e.g., a fossil taxon) will occur is related both to extinction rates and to what we term encounter probabilities. Any statistical method for analyzing fossil data should at a minimum permit separate inferences on these two components. We develop a method for estimating taxonomic extinction rates from stratigraphic range data and for testing hypotheses about variability in these rates. We use this method to estimate extinction rates and to test the hypothesis of constant extinction rates for several sets of stratigraphic range data. The results of our tests support the hypothesis that extinction rates varied over the geologic time periods examined. We also present a test that can be used to identify periods of high or low extinction probabilities and provide an example using Phanerozoic invertebrate data. Extinction rates should be analyzed using stochastic models, in which it is recognized that stratigraphic samples are random varlates and that sampling is imperfect

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Testing for variation in taxonomic extinction probabilities: a suggested methodology and some results
Series title:
Paleobiology
Volume
10
Issue:
3
Year Published:
1984
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
328-337
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Paleobiology
First page:
328
Last page:
337
Number of Pages:
10