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Setting the record right: species diversity less dramatic than previously believed
Date:7/7/2008

il data also indicate that the current pattern of distribution of life with low species diversity in the poles and a very high diversity in the tropics was established some 450 million years ago.

With the huge amount of data that was used for the analysis, (fossil occurrences representing nearly 3.5 million specimens) it also became possible to assess the diversity changes in local ecological communities as well as in that of the global total. Again, the researchers concluded that local ecological communities have changed relatively little since the establishment of marine animal ecosystems during the Phanerozoic Era.

So what bearing do the study conclusions have on the life on Earth today? Maybe a great deal, Olszewski says.

"As global climatic conditions change, either naturally or anthropogenically, (animal) life responds, which in turn can influence human life," says Olszewski. "Understanding what life was like under different conditions can help us assess and prepare for the consequences of this ongoing change," he adds.


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Contact: Thomas Olszewski
tomo@geo.tamu.edu
979-845-2465
Texas A&M University
Source:Eurekalert

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