Look in any textbook at the curves of changing overall biodiversity through the Phanerozoic and two impressive bursts of taxonomic proliferation are immediately apparent. The first occurs through the Ordovician checked by the end-of-period mass extinction and the second is more long-winded, running from the Mid Mesozoic and through the Cenozoic. But what are the underlying patterns? This compilation of 14 papers which were originally presented as part of the Lyell Meeting in 2001 deals with a variety of aspects of these radiations.

The editors, Owen & Crame, provide a useful overview of the scope of the volume and highlight...

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