I am working on a school project about extinction events. I found the following on Wikipedia:

The rebound of life's diversity with the sustained re-flooding of continental shelves at the onset of the Silurian saw increased biodiversity within the surviving orders.

What's the subject of "saw"? Is it "The rebound"? And if so, how can rebound - the return into sth normal, see something?

Also, isn't using sustained and re-flooding in the same sentence pleonasm?

I did not intend to be sarcastic or anything, I'm genuinely curious about all of this.

  • 2
    Yes, the rebound met with (saw) biodiversity. the reflooding could happen many times, thus sustained. Mar 20, 2017 at 20:11
  • Thanks! I just realized my second question didn't need to be asked, since "seeing" biodiversity is an obvious non-literal expression. My bad.
    – user226178
    Mar 20, 2017 at 20:21
  • It means that whoever wrote it was not a very good writer.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 20, 2017 at 22:36

1 Answer 1


The Silurian is a geologic period. The complicated sentence is basically saying this. There was a lot of flooding at the start of the Silurian. This flooding saw an increase in biodiversity. The species that survived diversified as a result of it.

The subject of saw is indeed rebound. Sometimes, impersonal things can be used as the subject of see. For example, the 20th century saw a lot of war.

I don't think that sustained re-flooding is in fact pleonasm, as re-flooding on its own does not indicate frequency. Sustained re-flooding happens over and over again.

  • 2
    Thank you so much! I completely understand this sentence's point now.
    – user226178
    Mar 20, 2017 at 20:29
  • @user226178 If this answer satisfies you, please accept it as an answer by clicking the tick, so that the question is no longer seen as an unanswered one.
    – Rio1210
    Mar 20, 2017 at 21:24

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