A refined modelling approach to assess the influence of sampling on palaeobiodiversity curves: new support for declining Cretaceous dinosaur richness
Graeme T. Lloyd*
Department of Palaeontology, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK
Modelling has been underdeveloped with respect to constructing palaeobiodiversity curves, but it offers an additional tool for removing sampling from their estimation. Here, an alternative to subsampling approaches, which often require large sample sizes, is explored by the extension and refinement of a pre-existing modelling technique that uses a geological proxy for sampling. Application of the model to the three main clades of dinosaurs suggests that much of their diversity fluctuations cannot be explained by sampling alone. Furthermore, there is new support for a long-term decline in their diversity leading up to the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event. At present, use of this method with data that includes either Lagerstätten or ‘Pull of the Recent’ biases is inappropriate, although partial solutions are offered.
modelling, sampling bias, palaeobiodiversity, subsampling, dinosaurs
One contribution of 12 to a Special Feature on ‘Models in palaeontology’.
Received February 24, 2011.
Accepted March 25, 2011.
This journal is © 2011 The Royal Society