For decades, paleobiologists have treated global diversity estimation as a straightforward problem (Miller 2000): count up the known higher taxa in each geological time interval, make a diversity curve, and go straight ahead to analyzing and interpreting the trends. However, global diversity curves recently have come under attack from all sides. Some researchers argue that although traditional curves are strongly affected by sampling biases (e.g., Smith 2001; Peters and Foote 2002), these biases can be corrected by assembling large, locality-level databases with detailed contextual information (Alroy et al. 2001). Others point to the large...

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