The starting point of this great compilation is Sepkoski’s fertile idea that most life-forms can be assigned to one of three ‘evolutionary faunas’, the Cambrian, the Palaeozoic and the Modern faunas. The Palaeozoic Evolutionary Fauna largely originated in the Ordovician Period and was much depleted by the end-Permian mass extinction, after which the Modern Fauna dominated. In order to get a better understanding of the Palaeozoic faunal origination, a project on the Ordovician Biodiversification Event (supported by the International Geological Correlation Programme) was initiated around 1998 and a group of a hundred specialists, representing expertise on practically all the faunal...

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