No, but seriously, from Phys.org:
Years of research on the evolution of ancient life including the dinosaurs have been questioned after a fatal flaw in the way fossil data is analysed was exposed. Studies based on the apparently flawed method have suggested Earth’s biodiversity remained relatively stable – close to maximum carrying capacity – and hinted many signs of species becoming rapidly extinct are merely reflections on the poor quality of the fossil record at that time. However, new research by scientists at the University of Reading suggests the history of the planet’s biodiversity may have been more dynamic than recently suggested, with bursts of new species appearing, along with crashes and more stable periods.
The researchers ran thousands of simulations to test the data correction method, but found it failed to return correct results in as much as 100% of the simulated cases.
Professor Mike Benton, Earth Scientist at University of Bristol, said: “The core assumption is that any portion of fossil diversity that can be explained by variations in rock volume should be explained by variations in rock volume. This assumption is based on no evidence. More.
Almost no evidence? Where have we heard that before?
We constantly get media releases announcing that something or other happened “earlier than thought” or went on “longer than thought.” Or happened “more quickly than thought.” It also turns out that some life form’s arrangements (frequent hybridization for example) make the questions of speciation and extinction moot. (See, for example, red wolf).
Sometimes it seems like, if we thought we knew less, we would know more.
See also: Stasis: Life goes on but evolution does not happen
Lazarus species: animals listed as extinct that turned up again.
Red wolf not endangered, a hybrid?
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