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Gaps in the fossil record

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 April 2016

Eric W. Holman*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90024

Abstract

Gaps in the fossil record can be identified in compilations of stratigraphic ranges of lower taxa classified within higher taxa. Statistical properties of such gaps suggest the following conclusions. First, the random sampling model most commonly used to correct for incompleteness in the record is inconsistent with the data. Second, the decline in taxonomic extinction rate during the Phanerozoic is not just an artifact of an increase in the completeness of the record.

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Copyright © The Paleontological Society 

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