Extinct storylines

The problem

This quote prompted some thoughts on the subject:

If 99% of all species that have lived on earth are extinct, it follows that the total of species originations has been virtually the same as the total of species extinctions. Although present biodiversity – the millions of living species – seems high to us today’s biota results from a minor surplus of speciation is over extinctions, accumulated over a long time. In the view of these figures, it is puzzling that even evolutionary biologists have devoted almost no attention to extinction. Large monographs and textbooks have been written about speciation, and careers have been built around the subject. But extinction has barely been touched. It’s like a demographer trying to study population growth without considering death rates or an accountant interested in credits but not debitsEvolution extended: biological debates on the meaning of life. Edited by Connie Barlow. 1994

Within the ParEvo process, as currently designed, the number of surviving storylines always remains the same as the number of participants currently involved, which remains relatively constant. But in each iteration, there may be one or more extinctions. I.e. there may be one or more storylines that nobody chooses to extend. These two facts may that extinct storylines will sooner or later outnumber the number of surviving storylines. So, it makes sense that any evaluation process built into ParEvo will need to pay at least some attention to extinct storylines.

Possible responses

  1. The evaluation stage built into ParEvo needs to be improved. There needs to be an option where the facilitator can choose between the evaluation of surviving or extinct storylines, and between extinct storylines from within one period or another.
  2. The extinct storylines of a ParEvo exercise could be reviewed and one or more of these could become the seed of a new ParEvo exercise
  3. …?