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Some habitats are clearly more susceptible to the preservation of fossils.
If those specific habitats are not occupied by a particular kind of creature, it may not be preserved in the fossil record even though it is still alive and well in some other habitat.
If the geologic column truly represents a series of closely spaced catastrophic burial events instead of long ages of time, how can this feature be explained?
Certainly this seems like a difficult and rather mysterious problem for those, like myself, who might think to question the long age notion of the fossil record.
The standard approach to looking at fossils in the geological column is to assume that lower is older.
The scientific method is all about testing and retesting theories since no theory is ever proven by science.At least a partial explanation might be found in the fairly recently discovered fact that at least some nested hierarchical patterns to the distribution of different populations (both living and within the fossil record) seem to be strongly related to ecological and population-size factors."The common pattern of species identities associated with species area relationships is the 'nested subsets' pattern.This is because large areas include a subset of species not found elsewhere. [These features are consistent with the hypothesis of] "isolated habitat 'islands'." Using this line of reasoning, one might reasonable hypothesize that trilobites appear in the fossil record before crabs and lobsters at least party because of the relative abundance of trilobites compared to crabs and lobsters.Therefore, the nested subset pattern of species distribution in space is thought to reflect the gradient in abundance among species (Gaston, 1996; Leitner and Rosenzweig, 1997; Maurer, 1999). This hypothesis is at least plausible given the author's conclusion that, "Species identities and their relative abundances are non-random properties of communities that persist over long periods of ecological time and across geographic space.
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Since each of these layers seems so specialized it is easy to conclude that one type of creature gave rise to the next type of creature over the course of whatever time it took to form the various layers between them.