A new perspective on extinctions : the search for a common formula

P.C. van den Noort, A.M.T. Elewa

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Letter to the editorAcademic


This paper introduces a new theory to explain and to estimate the size and frequency of extinctions over the entire period of 600 my of the fossil record. The current explanation is excellent .There seems to be a common pattern or formula. We will demonstrate in what way death is a fact of life: there is a constant margin of 10 pct, and about seven peaks with at least 25 pct of extinction victims. Those peaks occur each 85 million years, but their frequency has increased over time. In principle, the predictability of the next peak is limited, because of chaos (within the solar system and the ecosystem on Earth), the unpredictability of mutations in Nature, of innovations by Man, and let alone the disastrous impacts of asteroids. It also depends on the concept of whether life is cyclical or linear. Therefore, some predictions have a low likelihood of occurrence. In the traditional theory or Old Vision there are many extinctions and even mass extinctions, each with various theories believed to be their cause. There is no single theory explaining all extinctions .Man was witness to and perhaps later on even guilty of extinctions. Even as early as in the Ice Ages he tried to find facts and continued later on in the Age of Science. But we still do not see extinctions in their right perspective, and it would be very useful to change this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-18
JournalAcademia Arena
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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