Estimating Times Of Extinction In The Fossil Record

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Biology Letters


Because the fossil record is incomplete, the last fossil of a taxon is a biased estimate of its true time of extinction. Numerous methods have been developed in the palaeontology literature for estimating the true time of extinction using ages of fossil specimens. These methods, which typically give a confidence interval for estimating the true time of extinction, differ in the assumptions they make and the nature and amount of data they require. We review the literature on such methods and make some recommendations for future directions.


confidence intervals, mass extinction, fossil record, Bayesian, Signor–Lipps effect, stratigraphic range