Continuity of Background and Mass Extinctions: Blizzard or Hailstorm?
Steve C. Wang

Life on earth has been shaped by several mass extinctions, such as the end-Cretaceous event that killed the dinosaurs. Do these mass extinctions grade continuously into the background extinctions occurring throughout the history of life, or are they a fundamentally distinct phenomenon? I propose three criteria for deciding whether background and mass extinctions are "continuous", and describe a statistical test for one type of continuity.

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