Wednesday, March 16, 2005

biodiversity comes and goes

This is a tiny bit odd: "A detailed and extensive new analysis of the fossil records of marine animals over the past 542 million years [says that] biodiversity appears to rise and fall in mysterious cycles of 62 million years for which science has no satisfactory explanation."

I jump for "alien tinkering" in this kind of situation, but the scientists involved are looking for things like exposure to galactic radiation as we move around the universe; Oort cloud meteor gravitational effects; planetary plumes of eruptions, and Improbable Stuff Like That.

Fossil records show biodiversity comes and goes.


Anonymous said...

Wait, "alien tinkering" for a periodic behavior on a 62 million year scale is somehow less improbable than it being a natural phenomenon? Even when we know that we exist in a universe in which a lot of stellar behavior happens periodically? 62 million years is a very long time.

I don't get it.

Lynn said...

Hey Sean,
Maybe I don't get your gist either -- of course I'm (mostly) kidding about the aliens. But they really don't have any idea what the 62 million year period is about, either. Any suggestion is as good as the next until there's a good theory.