Paleonet: Biostratigraphic datums - a question

Steve C. Wang scwang at
Wed Apr 18 17:19:39 GMT 2007

At 11:20 AM -0500 4/18/07, Sheehan, Peter wrote:
>It also depends on how common the fossil is in the sample interval--if it
>is found in only a quarter of the samples in the fossils range the actual
>top will most likely be farther up than another fossil found in every
>sample in the fossils range. Strange that no one has mentioned the
>extensive literature on the Signor-Lipps effect.

Here are some articles on calculating range extensions that account for the
incompleteness of the fossil  record:

Marshall, C.R. 1990. Confidence intervals on stratigraphic ranges.
Paleobiology 16:1-10.

Marshall, C. R. 1997. Confidence intervals on stratigraphic ranges with
nonrandom distributions of fossil horizons. Paleobiology 23: 165-173.

Solow, A. R. 2003. Estimation of stratigraphic ranges when fossil finds are
not randomly distributed. Paleobiology 29: 181-185.

Strauss, D., and P. M. Sadler. 1989. Classical confidence intervals and
Bayesian probability estimates for ends of local taxon ranges. Mathematical
Geology 21: 411-427.

Weiss, R.E., and Marshall, C.R.  1999.  The Uncertainty in the True End
Point of a Fossil's Stratigraphic Range When Stratigraphic Sections are
Sampled Discretely.  Mathematical Geology  31(4):435-453.


Steve C. Wang
Assistant Professor of Statistics
Swarthmore College

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