Regardless of the macroevolutionary issues at stake, most students of biodiversity would agree that there is value in calibrating global biodiversity trends through critical intervals. To cite one obvious example, given the overwhelming interest in mass extinctions, we would certainly like to know the extent to which diversity declined during these events. Just as significantly, if we are to argue that any mass extinction was truly a global phenomenon, we must demonstrate definitively that its biotic effects reached around the world. Clearly, “standard” global compendia (e.g., Sepkoski 1992, 2002) are insufficient for the latter objective, because they contain no...

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