Paleontologic Technique for Defining Ancient Pole Positions

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Science  22 Nov 1963:
Vol. 142, Issue 3595, pp. 1057-1059
DOI: 10.1126/science.142.3595.1057


Taxonomnic diversity gradients appear to offer a quantitative paleontologic technique for obtaining ancient positions of the rotational pole of the earth. Statistical analysis of a model based on the taxonomic diversity of Recent planktonic foramninifera shows a close relationship to the latitudinal temperature gradient and, thus permits location of the pole. A similar analysis for Permian orthotetaceid brachiopods suggests a pole near the present position. A vailable data on diversity fit a present earth mizodel better than one based on Permian paleomagnetic results and thus suggest that it may be necesary to consider a model for the earth's magnetic field which does not require coincidence of the magnetic and rotational poles.