Fractals, Multifractals, and Lacunarity of the Fossil Record

  • Oct. 3, 2018, 4:00 pm
  • Roy E. Plotnick, UIC
  • Chris Stoughton

Paleontology has become an increasingly analytical science. In this presentation I will discuss how fractals and related concepts can be applied to our understanding of patterns in the history of life Specifically, I will describe 1) a simple fractal model can be used to understand the amount of time represented in a sequence of rocks; 2) how the concept of multifractals can be used to simulate extinctions over time (and why self-organized criticality is a poor model for this purpose); 3) lacunarity analysis and the self-similar distribution of fossil localities; and 4) a model for the animal movements in spatially complex environments that can be used to understand preserved animal trails.