All measurements and estimates have meaning, if consistent with peer-reviewed data and gifted with heuristic value. In pure science, we judge measures and estimation techniques by their importance to theory. We devise them for maximum relevance, and advance their reliability and precision by successive approximations. If better measures and estimation techniques come along, either by shifts in theoretical context or advances in technology, we discard the old and use the new.

These several qualities of measurement and estimation are conspicuously important in the case of species formation and extinction through time. It is extremely important for both basic and applied...

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