Feeds

Life on earth follows 62 million year cycle

Biodiversity has a rhythm

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Life on earth follows a mysterious 62 million year cycle that has left researchers stumped for an explanation.

An analysis of fossil records for the past 542 million years shows that biodiversity fluctuates according to the cycle, which holds true for both extinctions and new species. Physicist Richard Muller and his grad student Robert Rohde, working for the DoE's Lawrence Livermore Lab, discovered the cycle in 2003, but have been unable to explain it.

The pair examined 14 different possible explanations but couldn't find a relationship that held up. Rohde's personal hunch is that it's related to volcanic activity, but equally, he says, it could relate to the earth's passage through the Milky Way. Muller suspects that gravitational attraction from stellar objects such as galaxies or molecular clouds could in turn influence the number of genera.

Biodiversity follows a 62 year cycle

The pair also noticed a 140 million cycle but since the period covered by fossil records only permits four of these, they're reluctant to draw a conclusion. ®

Related link

Livermore Labs press release [thanks Jorn]

Related stories

Cretinous hacks in Cretaceous/Jurassic outrage
Tempel-1: iceberg or galactic rubber ball?
Scientists lighten up on dark energy
Cows bear grudges: official
Climatologist scoops major prize at IoP awards

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.