Articles | Volume 12, issue 3
Clim. Past, 12, 611–622, 2016
Clim. Past, 12, 611–622, 2016

Review article 10 Mar 2016

Review article | 10 Mar 2016

Fallacies and fantasies: the theoretical underpinnings of the Coexistence Approach for palaeoclimate reconstruction

Guido W. Grimm and Alastair J. Potts

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Cited articles

Araújo, M. B. and Guisan, A.: Five (or so) challenges for species distribution modelling, J. Biogeogr., 33, 1677–1688, 2006.
Araújo, M. B. and Pearson, R. G.: Equilibrium of species' distributions with climate, Ecography, 28, 693–695, 2005.
Austin, M. P. and Van Niel, K. P.: Improving species distribution models for climate change studies: variable selection and scale, J. Biogeogr., 38, 1–8, 2011.
Bond, W. J., Woodward, F. I., and Midgley, G. F.: The global distribution of ecosystems in a world without fire, New Phytol., 165, 525–538, 2005.
Booth, T. H., Nix, H. A., Busby, J. R., and Hutchinson, M. F.: BIOCLIM: the first species distribution modelling package, its early applications and relevance to most current MaxEnt studies, Divers. Distr., 20, 1–9, 2014.
Short summary
We critically assess, for the first time since its inception in 1997, the theory behind the Coexistence Approach. This method has reconstructed purportedly accurate, often highly precise, palaeoclimates for a wide range of Cenozoic Eurasian localities. We argue that its basic assumptions clash with modern biological and statistical theory and that its modus operandi is fundamentally flawed. We provide guidelines on how to establish robust taxon-based palaeoclimate reconstruction methods.