Cyclicity in the fossil record mirrors rock outcrop area.Biol Lett. 2005 Dec 22; 1(4):443-5.BL
In a recent article, Rohde & Muller (Rohde & Muller 2005 Nature 434, 208-210) identified a strong 62 Myr cyclicity in the history of marine diversity through the Phanerozoic. The data they presented were highly convincing, yet they were unable to explain what process might have generated this pattern. A significant correlation between observed genus-level diversity (after removal of long-term trends) and the amount of marine sedimentary rock measured at a surface outcrop in Western Europe is demonstrated. This suggests that cyclicity originates from long-term changes in sedimentary depositional and erosional regimes, and raises the strong possibility that the cyclicity apparent in the record of marine fossils is not a biological signal but a sampling signal.