Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Extinction from a paleontological perspective


Extinction of widespread species is common in evolutionary time (millions of years) but rare in ecological time (hundreds or thousands of years). In the fossil record, there appears to be a smooth continuum between background and mass extinction; and the clustering of extinctions at mass extinctions cannot be explained by the chance coincidence of independent events. Although some extinction is selective, much is apparently random in that survivors have no recognizable superiority over victims. Extinction certainly plays an important role in evolution, but whether it is constructive or destructive has not yet been determined.

Hide All
1.Dodson P. (1990) Counting dinosaurs: How many kinds were there? Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 87, 76087612.
2.Sepkoski J. J. Jr, (1989) Periodicity in extinction and the problem of catastrophism in the history of life. J. Geol. Soc. London, 146, 719.
3.Sepkoski J. J. Jr, (1990) The taxonomic structure of periodic extinction. Geol. Soc. Amer. Spec. Paper, 247, 3344.
4.Raup D. M. (1991) Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck? New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
5.Alvarez L. W., Alvarez W., Asaro F., and Michel H. V. (1980) Extraterrestrial cause for the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction. Science, 208, 10951108.
6.Jablonski D. (1991) Extinctions: a paleontological perspective. Science, 253, 754757.
7.Raup D. M. (1979) Size of the Permo-Triassic bottleneck and its evolutionary implications. Science, 206, 217218.
8.Copper P. (1988) Ecological succession in Phanerozoic reef ecosystems: Is it real? Palaios, 3, 136152.
9.Raup D. M. (1991) A kill curve for Phanerozoic marine species. Paleobiology, 17, 3748.
10.Darwin C. (1859) On the Origin of Species, London: John Murray.
11.Lyell C. (1833) Principles of Geology, Vol. 3, London: John Murray.
12.Raup D. M. (1992) Large-body impact and extinction in the Phanerozoic. Paleobiology, 18, 8088.
Recommend this journal

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

European Review
  • ISSN: 1062-7987
  • EISSN: 1474-0575
  • URL: /core/journals/european-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 4 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 73 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.