The Impact of the Pull of the Recent on the History of Marine Diversity

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Science  16 May 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5622, pp. 1133-1135
DOI: 10.1126/science.1083246

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Up to 50% of the increase in marine animal biodiversity through the Cenozoic at the genus level has been attributed to a sampling bias termed “the Pull of the Recent,” the extension of stratigraphic ranges of fossil taxa by the relatively complete sampling of the Recent biota. However, 906 of 958 living genera and subgenera of bivalve mollusks having a fossil record occur in the Pliocene or Pleistocene. The Pull of the Recent thus accounts for only 5% of the Cenozoic increase in bivalve diversity, a major component of the marine record, suggesting that the diversity increase is likely to be a genuine biological pattern.

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