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Re: Mass Extinction Statistics



I personally think there are too many assumptions being made in this academic debate over randomness. Neither susceptibility nor population can be assumed to be equal.
In particular, as I said before, I think there was probably a great percentage of eutherian burrowers (especially those who could subsist on underground sources of food (stored food or roots and tubers).
If more of the eutherian "dots" were underground in burrows and could stay there without starving, then those "dots" were less likely to get hit than "dots" above ground and especially those dependent on above ground sources of food, particularly closer to ground zero (North and Central America, and northern South America).
--------Ken
**************************************************
From: John Bois <jbois@umd5.umd.edu>
Reply-To: jbois@umd5.umd.edu
To: David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>
CC: The Dinosaur Mailing List <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Subject: Re: Mass Extinction Statistics
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 23:12:51 -0400 (EDT)



On Thu, 24 May 2001, David Marjanovic wrote:

> > I put up 500,000 black dots and 500,000 red dots on my board. I have a
> > cannon that fires 500,000 bullets at once.
>
> I'd rather say you have a big bomb rather than exactly 500,000 individual
> bullets. You let the bomb detonate, and then you look if you find a pattern
> among the unhit dots.


Well, whatever the delivery mechanism, it should have a random
effect--perhaps more diffuse than a bomb--after all, the placentals are
not all living together in one happy bunker, nor the marsupials.  There
are millions (probably) of organisms in many niches.

> > Given our assumption of equal population number, equal
> > susceptibility, etc., is this not a fair analogy? And isn't it true that
> > the more dots I have, the greater my chance of reaching 50/50?
>
> The more times you fire the cannon, not the more dots you have.


Several have said this.  Why?  What's the difference whether I increase
the population or the number of bolide strikes?  Flipping a
flippin' coin a hundred times is the same as flipping 100 flippin' coins
once.
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