Generation and Maintenance of Gradients in Taxonomic Diversity

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Science  23 May 1969:
Vol. 164, Issue 3882, pp. 947-949
DOI: 10.1126/science.164.3882.947


Latitudinal gradients in diversity of organisms represent an equilibrium distribution for at least the last 270 x 106 years. Faunas endemic to tropical regions evolved significantly faster than extra-tropical faunas. The latitude-dependent difference in rates of evolution also represents an equilibrium condition for at least the last 270 x 106 years and has consequences for paleontological correlation of rocks because the attainable resolution depends on rate of evolution and will thus be greater in tropic regions than in extra-tropical ones.

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