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During the early to mid-Ordovician, marine life experienced an unprecedented rise in diversity at the species, genus and family levels that firmly installed the suspension-feeding benthos as the main component of the Palaeozoic fauna. The earlier Ordovician was characterized by a wide dispersal of the continents together with a high frequency of microcontinents and volcanic arcs. Magmatic and tectonic activity was intense, climates were warm and sea levels were high. Central to the entire diversification is the role of gamma (inter-provincial) diversity and by implication the spread of the continents and frequency of island arcs and microcontinents. A disparate...

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