Fossils out of sequence: computer simulations and strategies for dealing with stratigraphic disorder

A. H. Cutler, K. W. Flessa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Microstratigraphic resolution is limited by vertical mixing and reworking of fossils. Stratigraphic disorder is the degree to which fossils within a stratigraphic sequence are not in proper chronological order. Stratigraphic disorder arises through in situ vertical mixing of fossils and reworking of older fossils into younger deposits. We simulated the effects of mixing and reworking by simple computer models, and measured stratigraphic disorder using rank correlation between age and stratigraphic position (Spearman and Kendall coefficients). The effects of mixing-produced disorder can be minimized by increasing sample size at each horizon. Increased spacing between samples is of limited utility in dealing with disordered sequences: while widely separated samples are more likely to be stratigraphically ordered, the smaller number of samples makes the detection of trends problematic. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalPalaios
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Palaeontology

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