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There is increasing evidence to suggest that drivers of bias in the fossil record have also affected actual biodiversity history, so that controls of artefact and true pattern are confounded. Here we examine the role of spatial structuring of the environment as one component of this common cause hypothesis. Our results are based on sampling standardized analyses of the post-Middle Eocene record of shelf molluscs from New Zealand. We find that spatial structuring of the environment directly influenced the quality of the fossil record. Contrary to our expectations, however, we find no evidence to suggest that spatial structuring of...

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