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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
prev story

Whitepapers

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 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.