Palaeontological data and identifying mass extinctions.

  title={Palaeontological data and identifying mass extinctions.},
  author={Michael J Benton},
  journal={Trends in ecology & evolution},
  volume={9 5},
It is often assumed that mass extinctions may be read directly from the fossil record. However, recent work on the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary has shown the difficulty of doing this. For example, it is hard to tell whether the stratigraphic ranges of taxa are complete or not, and what the shape of an extinction really is. Range completeness may be assessed by (1) a statistical approach to the relative completeness of ranges of taxa, and (2) tests based on collecting effort near the ends… CONTINUE READING