Research Article

A high-resolution summary of Cambrian to Early Triassic marine invertebrate biodiversity

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Science  17 Jan 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6475, pp. 272-277
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax4953

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A finer record of biodiversity

We have pressing, human-generated reasons to explore the influence of environmental change on biodiversity. Looking into the past can not only inform our understanding of this relationship but also help us to understand current change. Paleontological records depend on fossil availability and predictive modeling, however, and thus tend to give us a picture with large temporal jumps, millions of years wide. Such a scale makes it difficult to truly understand the action of environmental forces on ecological processes. Enabled by a supercomputer, Fan et al. used machine learning to analyze a large marine Paleozoic dataset, creating a record with time intervals of only ∼26,000 years (see the Perspective by Wagner). This fine-scale resolution revealed new events and important details of previously described patterns.

Science, this issue p. 272; see also p. 249

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