In considering the history of biodiversity paleontologists have focused on exploratory investigations of empirical data derived from the fossil record. Starting with the pioneering work of Philips (1860), and continuing at an increasing pace through today, this inductive approach has dominated diversity research. In contrast, deductive theoretical considerations that focus on the expected history of biodiversity, and develop independently of empirical knowledge, have remained underexplored. Appreciating the need for a nomothetic paleobiology (Gould 1980), we here reconsider the history of biodiversity, using deductive models constrained by a few, self-evident parameters. This analysis centers on the marine fossil...

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