Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Bias in the published fossil record

  • Carl F. Koch (a1)

Abstract

The published fossil record has significant bias in favor of common and biostratigraphically important taxa when compared with data obtained from a thorough examination of several hundred collections from the Western Interior of North America. Overall species diversity is underestimated by a factor of 3 to 4, and bivalve and gastropod diversity by a factor of 5. The proportion of bivalves increased from 40 to 56% of the fauna, and the proportion of ammonites decreased from 28 to 18%. Thirteen published reports listed 65 species from 203 reported occurrences. Data from all sources showed 170 species for 1050 occurrences. By using abundance data and assuming a log-normal distribution, as many as 200 fossilizable mollusc species may have inhabited the Western Interior during the uppermost biozone of the Cenomanian. The importance of this study is that it quantifies the bias in the published fossil record relative to the potential fossil record for an unusually well studied interval of geologic time. The bias would be greater for less well studied strata.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Bambach, R. K. 1977. Species richness in marine benthic habitats through the Phanerozoic. Paleobiology. 3:152167.
Boucot, A. J. 1975. Evolution and Extinction Rate Controls. 427 pp. Elsevier; New York.
Coates, A. G. and Kauffman, E. G. 1973. Stratigraphy, paleontology and paleoenvironments of a Cretaceous coral thicket, Lamy, New Mexico. J. Paleontol. 47:953968.
Cobban, W. A. 1951. Colorado shale of central and northwestern Montana and equivalent rocks of the Black Hills. Bull. Am. Assoc. Petrol. Geol. 35:21702198.
Cobban, W. A. 1971. New and little known Ammonites from the Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian and Turonian) of the Western Interior of the United States. Bull. Geol. Soc. Am. 63:10111044.
Cobban, W. A. and Scott, G. R. 1972. Stratigraphy and ammonite fauna of the Graneros Shale and the Greenhorn Limestone near Pueblo, Colorado. U.S. Geol. Surv. Prof. Pap. 645. 108 pp.
Durham, J. W. 1967. The incompleteness of our knowledge of the fossil record. J. Paleontol. 41:559.
Hattin, D. E. 1975. Stratigraphy and depositional environment of the Greenhorn Limestone (Upper Cretaceous) of Kansas. Kans. Geol. Surv. Bull. 209. 128 pp.
Hose, R. K. 1955. Geology of the Crazy Woman Creek area, Johnson County, Wyoming. U.S. Geol. Surv. Bull. 1027-B:33118.
Jackson, J. B. C. 1974. Biogeographic consequences of eurytopy and stenotopy among marine bivalves and their evolutionary significance. Am. Nat. 104:541560.
Kauffman, E. G. 1957. Coloradoan macroinvertebrate assemblages, Central Western Interior, United States. In: Paleoenvironments of the Cretaceous Seaway in the Western Interior Colorado. School of Mines; Golden, Colorado. Pp. 67143.
Kauffman, E. G., Powell, J. D., and Hattin, D. E. 1969. Cenomanian-Turonian facies across the Raton Basin. Mt. Geol. 6:93118.
Koch, C. F. 1977. Evolutionary and ecological patterns of Upper Cenomanian (Cretaceous) mollusk distribution in the Western Interior of North America. Unpubl. Ph.D. dissertation. The George Washington Univ.; Washington, D.C.
Landis, E. R., Dane, C. H., and Cobban, W. C. 1973. Stratigraphic terminology of the Dakota Sandstone and Mancos Shale, West-central New Mexico. U.S. Geol. Surv. Bull. 1372-J.
May, R. M. 1975. Patterns of species abundance and diversity. In: Cody, M. L. and Diamond, J. M., eds. Ecology and Evolution of Communities. The Belknap Press; Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Moreman, W. L. 1942. Paleontology of the Eagleford Group of North and Central Texas. J. Paleontol. 16:192220.
Newell, N. D. 1959. Adequacy of the fossil record. J. Paleontol. 33:488499.
Preston, F. W. 1948. The commonness and rarity of species. Ecology. 29:254283.
Raup, D. M. 1972. Taxonomic diversity during the Phanerozoic. Science. 177:10651071.
Reeside, J. B. Jr. 1957. Paleoecology of the Cretaceous Seas of the Western Interior of the United States. Geol. Soc. Am. Mem. 67:505542.
Repenning, C. A. and Page, H. G. 1956. Late Cretaceous stratigraphy of Black Mesa, Navajo and Hopi Indian reservations, Arizona. Am. Assoc. Petrol. Geol. Bull. 40:255294.
Scott, G. R. 1962. Geology of the Littleton Quadrangle, Jefferson, Douglas, and Arapahoe Counties Colorado. U.S. Geol. Surv. Bull. 1121-L. 53 pp.
Sohl, N. F. 1960. Archeogastropoda, Mesogastropoda, and Stratigraphy of the Ripley, Owl Creek, and Prairie Bluff Formations. U.S. Geol. Surv. Prof. Pap. 331-A.
Sohl, N. L. 1964. Neogastropoda, Opisthobranchia and Basommatophora from the Ripley, Owl Creek, and Prairie Bluff Formations. U.S. Geol. Surv. Prof. Pap. 331-B.
Stanton, T. W. 1893. The Colorado Formation and its invertebrate fauna. U.S. Geol. Surv. Bull. 106. 288 pp. (1894).
Stephenson, L. W. and Monroe, W. H. 1940. The Upper Cretaceous deposits. Miss. State Geol. Surv. Bull. 40. 296 pp.
Swenson, A. J. 1962. Anisoceratidae and Hammitidae (Ammonoidea) from the Cretaceous of Texas and Utah. Brigham Young Univ. Geol. Studies. 9:5382. (1963).
Teichert, C. W. 1956. How many fossil species? J. Paleontol. 30:967969.
Valentine, J. W. 1969. Patterns of taxonomic and ecological structure of the shelf benthos during the Phanerozoic. Paleontology. 12:684709.
Valentine, J. W. 1970. How many marine invertebrate fossil species? A new approximation. J. Paleontol. 44:410415.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Paleobiology
  • ISSN: 0094-8373
  • EISSN: 1938-5331
  • URL: /core/journals/paleobiology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed