, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 229–232 | Cite as

Possible correlation between species extinction, evolution and plate adjustments to continental erosion

  • Iberall A. S. 


Data from continental erosion and from fluctuations in sea level are offered as a correlation with species extinction reported by Raup. Such data suggest a model for long term punctuate evolution.


Continental Margin Species Extinction Seismic Stratigraphy AAPG Memoir Marginal Adjustment 
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References and Notes

  1. 1).
    Raup, D.: Biological extinction in earth history. Science, 231, 1528–1533 (1986)Google Scholar
  2. 2).
    The composite comments of Simpson, G.: How many species? Evol. 6, 342 (1952);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 2a).
    Cailleux, A.: How many species? Evol. 8, 83–84 (1954);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 2b).
    Schopf, T.: A critical assessment of punctuated evolution. I. Duration of taxa. Evol. 36, 1144–1147 (1982) make some such numbers plausible as an order of magnitude estimate. That is, such a number far exceeds the number of currently estimated species.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 3).
    While the argument under consideration has to do with species extinction, the larger problem of evolution — whether gradual or episodic — has to deal very detailedly with the fossil record. There is the latent assumption that the fluctuation in the total number of species available at every point in time is lesser in measure — more slowly varying — than the fluctuations in, say, extinctions. If this is the case, then new niche filling species, e. g., a snall group point evolution, has to follow extinction with relatively short delays, such as delays significantly less than a few My.Google Scholar
  6. 4).
    The work that my colleagues and I have pursued in developing a physics of complex systems, homeokinetics (see Soodak, H.; Iberall, A.: Homeokinetics: A physical science for complex systems. Science 201, 579–582 [1978]), led us to the conjecture that a unified earth science could only be developed on the basis of the interacting thermodynamics of six earth systems — the lithospheric earth, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, the geochemical earth, the biochemical earth, and modern man. Obviously acceptance of our thesis encountered a great deal of resistance, even though now it has become fashionable coin of the realm (see Washington embraces global earth sciences. Science 233, 1040–1042 (1986). The limited effort that we were able to receive support for is available as Iberall, A.; Cardon, S.: NASA Contractors Reports, Contract NASW-3378, prepared by Gen. Tech. Serv. Inc., May, Aug., Nov. 1980, Jan. 1981 for NASA-Washington. Continental erosion by rivers, continental uplift, and sea level variations are discussed in the Nov. 1980, Jan. 1981 reports.Google Scholar
  7. 5).
    Elder, J.: The bowels of the earth. Oxford U. Press, London 1976.Google Scholar
  8. 6).
    See Vail, P. et al.: Seismic stratigraphy and global changes of sea level. AAPG Memoir 26, 49–212 (1977);Google Scholar
  9. 6a).
    Vail, P.; Mitchum, R.: Global cycles of relative changes of sea level from seismic stratigraphy. AAPG Memoir 29, 467–472 (1979).Google Scholar
  10. 7).
    Turcotte, D.: Burke, K.: Global sea-level changes and the thermal structure of the earth. Earth Plan. Sci., Lett. 41, 341–346 (1978).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 8).
    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th Ed. 1975.Google Scholar
  12. 9).
    Wood, R. M.: The fight between land and sea. New Sci. 87, 512–515 (1980).Google Scholar
  13. 10).
    Gass, L.; Wright, J.: Continents old and new. Nature 284, 217–218 (1980).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 11).
    Margulis, L.; Schwartz, K.: Five kingdoms. Freeman and Co., San Francisco 1982.Google Scholar
  15. 12).
    Margulis, L.: Origin of eukaryotic cells. Yale U. Press, New Haven 1970.Google Scholar
  16. 12a).
    Symbiosis in cell evolution. Freeman and Co., San Francisco 1981.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iberall A. S. 
    • 1
  1. 1.Oral BiologyUCLALos AngelesUSA

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