Podcast 123 - Periodicity of Extinction


The gang discusses two papers with differing opinions about whether or not extinction events in the fossil record follow a periodic pattern. Also, James is dealing with very reputable people, Curt forces people to talk about things they don't care about, and Amanda becomes VERY interested in energy conservation.


Up-Goer Five (James Edition): 

This week the group looks at two papers seeing if really bad times when lots of things died happen on a time table or if really bad times when lots of things died do not run on time and came come any time they want. The first paper says the death train does not run on time and that we do note see a time table that it sticks to. They state that past papers that have tried to see the when the death train comes have made time tables out of chance visits and that we can not use these time tables because we may be waiting for the death train a long time and then find that two death trains show up at once. The other papers in the past said that this time table is caused by the stars and that things coming from space are making the death train run on time. The new paper says that this is not true because there is no time table and the stars can't control a time table that is not there.

The second paper responds to the first paper and says that the time table is there and the way the first paper checked the time table was too mean. The second paper points out that the death train can be early or late and still be running on a time table. They look at the same numbers as the first paper and say that the death train is just early or late quite a bit but still runs on its time table.



Erlykin, Anatoly D., et al. "Mass extinctions over the last 500 myr: an astronomical cause?." Palaeontology 60.2 (2017): 159-167.

Melott, Adrian L., and Richard K. Bambach. "Comments on: Periodicity in the extinction rate and possible astronomical causes–comment on mass extinctions over the last 500 myr: an astronomical cause?(Erlykin et al.)." Palaeontology 60.6 (2017): 911-920.