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A new method for predicting rotational poles from biological diversity gradients consists of fitting a fourth degree polynomial in latitude to the data for each of a grid of trial “north poles” and measuring the “goodness of fit” for each tested pole. A confidence area for the predicted pole can then be contoured on the array of trial north poles. This method was tested against modern diversity gradients, and when applied to Stehli’s Permian brachiopod data, it showed many advantages over the spherical harmonics method. A hypothetical Permian continental reconstruction and the present continental arrangement were tested, but the paleoclimatic data used were unable to discriminate adequately between the two.

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