A high-resolution summary of Cambrian to Early Triassic marine invertebrate biodiversity.


School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China. [Email]


One great challenge in understanding the history of life is resolving the influence of environmental change on biodiversity. Simulated annealing and genetic algorithms were used to synthesize data from 11,000 marine fossil species, collected from more than 3000 stratigraphic sections, to generate a new Cambrian to Triassic biodiversity curve with an imputed temporal resolution of 26 ± 14.9 thousand years. This increased resolution clarifies the timing of known diversification and extinction events. Comparative analysis suggests that partial pressure of carbon dioxide (Pco2) is the only environmental factor that seems to display a secular pattern similar to that of biodiversity, but this similarity was not confirmed when autocorrelation within that time series was analyzed by detrending. These results demonstrate that fossil data can provide the temporal and taxonomic resolutions necessary to test (paleo)biological hypotheses at a level of detail approaching those of long-term ecological analyses.

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