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Science. 2003 Jul 18;301(5631):358-60. Epub 2003 Jun 12.

Estimating the rock volume bias in paleobiodiversity studies.

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  • 1Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, Post Office Box 30-368, Lower Hutt, New Zealand.


To interpret changes in biodiversity through geological time, it is necessary first to correct for biases in sampling effort related to variations in the exposure of rocks and recovery of fossils with age. Data from New Zealand indicate that outcrop area is likely to be a reliable proxy of rock volume in both stable cratonic regions, where the paleobiodiversity record is strongly correlated with relative sea level, and on tectonically active margins. In contrast, another potential proxy, the number of rock formations, is a poor predictor of outcrop area or sampling effort in the New Zealand case.

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