What’s it about?
The problem with the rock record is that it is incomplete. This means that what was really a gradual extinction could look abrupt, or that a large-scale mass extinction can look like it was spread out. The authors of this paper present a method by which it is possible to determine how many pulses or waves of extinction added up to what we consider a mass extinction.
Why does it matter?
Importantly, the method of this paper doesn’t specify a number of pulses of extinction for a single mass extinction. Instead, it presents a means to figure out how many pulses are most likely to have occurred in order to explain the distribution of fossils in the rock record.
Why did I read this?
Heh. Thinking about re-vamping my vertebrate paleontology class into something focused on global change and extinction. This seemed relevant.