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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
Big Picture Paleontologist Dies
4 May 1999 7:00 pm
J. John Sepkoski Jr., a paleontologist who charted the diversity of ocean life through Earth's history, died Saturday of sudden heart failure. He was 50.
"Paleobiology is a small profession, so when we lose one of our very greatest, it's really a tremendously painful experience," said Harvard University paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould in a statement released today by the University of Chicago. "Jack was one of the leading lights of the profession."
Sepkoski compiled massive data sets on the diversity of marine organisms over the last 600 million years. Sepkoski developed a set of statistical tools for combing through the data, enabling him and others to discover broad patterns in evolution and extinction.
During the 1980s, Sepkoski and Chicago colleague David Raup put forth the controversial theory that catastrophic extinctions of marine animals may have occurred approximately every 26 million years during the past 250 million years of Earth's history. The theory helped raise the possibility that mass extinctions--on land as well as in the seas--may result from catastrophic comet and asteroid impacts.