Biases in the fossil record
As someone who is interested in the role of ecological processes in shaping macroecological and macroevolutionary trends of mammals, I am concerned about potential biases in the mammalian fossil record. Of particular interest is the potential impact of these biases on interpretations of observed patterns. With Felisa Smith, I have begun a project to evaluate these biases by comparing the record of extant mammals in North America to the record of the late Pleistocene. My analyses have shown that extant mammals missing from the record tend to ones with smaller body sizes and smaller geographic ranges (Lyons and Smith, 2006 GSA abstracts). Future work will extend these analyses farther back into the Cenozoic as well as focus on developing methods to account for the effects of these biases on macroecological and macroevolutionary trends.
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