Mass extinctions vs. uniformitarianism in biological evolution

  title={Mass extinctions vs. uniformitarianism in biological evolution},
  author={Per Bak and Maya Paczuski},
  journal={arXiv: Condensed Matter},
  • P. Bak, M. Paczuski
  • Published 31 December 1995
  • Geology, Physics, Biology
  • arXiv: Condensed Matter
1 Introduction 1.1 Avalanches and Punctuated Equilibrium 1.2 External Shocks: "Bad Luck" 1.3 Evolution of Isolated vs. Many Interacting Species 2 Self-Organized Criticality 3 Co-evolutionary Avalanches 4 A Simple Model for Evolution 4.1 The Self-Organized Critical State 4.2 Comparison with the Fossil Record 4.3 External Effects 5 Theory 6 Acknowledgments References 

Figures from this paper

Self-organized criticality, evolution and the fossil extinction record
  • M. Newman
  • Geology, Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1996
Statistical analysis indicates that the fossil extinction record is compatible with a distribution of extinction events whose frequency is related to their size by a power law, and an explicit model of this process is given and its properties and implications for the interpretation of the fossil record are discussed.
A model of mass extinction.
  • M. Newman
  • Environmental Science, Physics
    Journal of theoretical biology
  • 1997
A new mathematical model of mass extinction which does not rely on coevolutionary effects and in which extinction is caused entirely by the action of environmental stress on species is proposed.
Decline in extinction rates and scale invariance in the fossil record
We show that the decline in the extinction rate during the Phanerozoic can be accurately parameterized by a logarithmic fit to the cumulative total extinction. This implies that extinction intensity
Stylistic Change as a Self-Organized Critical Phenomenon: An Archaeological Study in Complexity
Archaeologists can learn from models of evolution as a self-organized critical phenomenon. Self-organized critical systems are large, interactive systems that organize into a critical state where
Keynote address: Scaling phenomena and the emergence of complexity in astrobiology
Today living things are capable of asking meaningful questions about the origin, evolution and even the future of the Universe and its organization, all the way from apparently less “complicated” structures to structures as complex as living organisms and ecologies.
Astrobiological Complexity with Probabilistic Cellular Automata
It is argued that probabilistic cellular automata (PCA) represent the best quantitative framework for modeling the astrobiological history of the Milky Way and its Galactic Habitable Zone and how numerical results could offer a cautious rationale for continuation of practical SETI searches is demonstrated.
Dynamics and Development of the International System: A Complexity Science Perspective
In this paper I discuss the outcome of an exploratory research project based on complexity science concepts and theories; this research is focused on the Great Power war dynamics in the time period
Social mobility and complexity theory: towards a critique of the sociological mainstream
Social mobility studies reveal remarkable stability as far as relative mobility chances are concerned, both over time and as between different industrial nations, even while absolute mobility rates


Punctuated equilibrium and criticality in a simple model of evolution.
  • Bak, Sneppen
  • Computer Science, Medicine
    Physical review letters
  • 1993
A simple and robust model of biological evolution of an ecology of interacting species that self-organizes into a critical steady state with intermittent coevolutionary avalanches of all sizes and exhibits ``punctuated equilibrium'' behavior.
Evolution as a self-organized critical phenomenon.
A simple mathematical model of biological macroevolution describes an ecology of adapting, interacting species that evolves to a "self-organized critical" state where periods of stasis alternate with avalanches of causally connected evolutionary changes.
Simple model of self-organized biological evolution.
The model has a power law distribution of durations of coevolutionary "avalanches" with a mean field exponent 3/2 and the finite size effects which cut off this power law at times of the order of the system size are calculated.
A self-organized critical model for evolution
A simple mathematical model of biological macroevolution describes an ecology of adapting, interacting species where periods of stasis alternate with avalanches of causally connected evolutionary changes, finding a theoretical explanation as a self-organized critical phenomenon.
Mass extinction: evolution and the effects of external influences on unfit species
  • M. Newman, B. Roberts
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1995
We present a new model for extinction in which species evolve in bursts or ‘avalanches’, during which they become on average more susceptible to environmental stresses such as harsh climates and so
Complexity, contingency, and criticality.
  • P. Bak, M. Paczuski
  • Geology, Medicine
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1995
The apparent, historical contingency in many sciences, including geology, biology, and economics, finds a natural interpretation as a self-organized critical phenomenon in simple mathematical models of sandpiles and biological evolution.
Self-organized criticality in living systems
Mean field theory for a simple model of evolution.
A simple dynamical model for Darwinian evolution on its slowest time scale is analyzed, its mean field theory is formulated and solved and the model self-organizes to a robust critical attractor.
Origins of Order: self-organization and selection in evolution
The structure of rugged fitness landscapes and the structure of adaptive landscapes underlying protein evolution, and the architecture of genetic regulatory circuits and its evolution.
Self.Organized Criticality in Phylogenetic-Like Tree Growths
A simple stocllastic model of Darwinistic evolution generating pllylogenetic-like trees is developed. Tlle model is based on a branclling process taking competition-correlation effects into account.