On the evolution of extinction rates

Michael L. Rosenzweig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Aim: Consider and compare the evolutionary influences on extinction rates at the species level. Question: Does extinction rate evolve? Hypothetical conclusions: Yes, extinction evolves. Important traits such as senescence and sex may be due to group selection working against high extinction rates in species that lack senescence and sex. Sometimes, however, reduced extinction rates may evolve more conventionally by natural selection working to improve the reproductive biology of a species. And sometimes species may evolve to dominate a community's best habitats even if that evolution increases its probability of extinction. Despite likely changes at the species level in the probability of extinction, the fossil record suggests that mean extinction rates have not trended much at all during the Phanerozoic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)835-847
Number of pages13
JournalEvolutionary Ecology Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2016


  • Consumption of the variance
  • Coryphantha
  • Group selection
  • Phanerozoic
  • Senescence
  • Sex
  • Shared-preference habitat selection
  • Tolerance/intolerance competition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Dive into the research topics of 'On the evolution of extinction rates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this