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The Fossil Record Is a Crystal Ball for the Future of Marine Animal Extinction

It's not looking good for dolphins.
Pleistocene sediments containing marine fossils in Jamaica. Image: Aaron O'Dea

With worrying levels of ocean acidification, pollution, and overfishing afflicting marine ecosystems, there's a looming extinction time bomb on the horizon. But what if we could predict the greatest risks in advance, and save species in the process?

Seth Finnegan of Berkeley (L) and STRI scientist Aaron O'Dea (R) take sediment grabs. Image: STRI

Finnegan told me that the next step was integrating the group's empirical findings with contemporary data. "If we're going to meaningfully connect the patterns that we observe in the fossil record to the modern world, we need to get to know much more about how those populations are currently being affected," he added.