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How Many Marine Invertebrate Fossil Species? A New Approximation

James W. Valentine
Journal of Paleontology
Vol. 44, No. 3 (May, 1970), pp. 410-415
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1302578
Page Count: 6
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How Many Marine Invertebrate Fossil Species? A New Approximation
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Abstract

Marine species diversity today appears to be more than an order of magnitude greater than the mean standing species diversity during the Paleozoic. The major cause of the inferred rise of species diversity to the present level is the provincialization of the marine biosphere due to continental drift and to increased latitudinal temperature gradients. Using inferred levels of species diversity throughout the Phanerozoic, the total numbers of marine invertebrate species that are represented by recognizable remains can be estimated as between 342,000 and 1,543,000, a range that is significantly lower than previously suggested.

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