The foundations of several disciplines can be expressed as simple quantitative laws, for example, Newton's laws or the laws of thermodynamics. Here I present five laws derived from fossil data that describe the relationships among species extinction and longevity, species richness, origination rates, extinction rates and diversification. These statements of our palaeobiological knowledge constitute a dimension largely hidden from view when studying the living biota, which are nonetheless crucial to the study of evolution and ecology even for groups with poor or non-existent fossil records. These laws encapsulate: the critical fact of extinction; that species are typically geologically short-lived, and thus that the number of extinct species typically dwarfs the number of living species; that extinction and origination rates typically have similar magnitudes; and, that significant extinction makes it difficult to infer much about a clade's early history or its current diversity dynamics from the living biota alone. Although important strides are being made to integrate these core palaeontological findings into our analysis of the living biota, this knowledge needs to be incorporated more widely if we are to understand their evolutionary dynamics.
AI-powered Research feed
Round-ups are the summaries of handpicked papers around trending topics published every week. These would enable you to scan through a collection of papers and decide if the paper is relevant to you before actually investing time into reading it.
Climate change Research Articles published between Aug 08, 2022 to Aug 14, 2022
Aug 15, 2022
Articles Included: 5
Introduction: There is no consensus on the policies that should be seen as implicitly pricing carbon (see World Bank (2019a) for a discussion). The OE...Read More
Gender Equality Research Articles published between Aug 08, 2022 to Aug 14, 2022
Aug 15, 2022
Articles Included: 4
I would like to thank Anna Khakee, Federica Zardo and Ragnar Weilandt for their very useful comments as well as the participants of the workshop of 21...Read More
Disclaimer: All third-party content on this website/platform is and will remain the property of their respective owners and is provided on “as is” basis without any warranties, express or implied. Use of third-party content does not indicate any affiliation, sponsorship with or endorsement by them. Any references to third-party content is to identify the corresponding services and shall be considered fair use under The Copyright Law.