Quantum Physics Division
Faculty of PhysicsAdam Mickiewicz University

Periodicity of mass extinctions without an extraterrestrial cause

A. Lipowski1

1 Faculty of Physics, A. Mickiewicz University, 61-614 Poznań, Poland

Phys. Rev. E, 71, 052902 (2005)
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.71.052902


We study a lattice model of a multispecies prey-predator system. Numerical results show that for a small mutation rate the model develops irregular long-period oscillatory behavior with sizeable changes in a number of species. The periodicity of extinctions on Earth was suggested by Raup and Sepkoski [Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 81, 801 (1984)], but thus far is lacking a satisfactory explanation. Our model indicates that this might be a natural consequence of the ecosystem dynamics and not the result of any extraterrestrial cause.


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