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There are two fossil records: the physical fossil record, which consists of specimens, and the abstracted fossil record, which is made up of data derived from those specimens. Mseum collections are the conduit between these two fossil records. Over the past several decades, the abstracted fossil record has provided many important insights about the major features of life’s history, but it has relied mostly on limited types of data (primarily taxonomic occurrence data) derived from ultimately finite literature sources. In contrast, specimen collections and modern tools for digitizing information about them present an opportunity to transform paleobiology...

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