PMID: 21238171Dec 1, 1997

Models for the diversification of life

Trends in Ecology & Evolution
M J Benton


The diversification of life through geological time a rise from presumably one species to many millions today. The diversification of marine families in the past 600 million years (Myr) appears to have followed two or three logistic curves, with equilibrium levels that lasted for up to 200 Myr. In contrast, continental organisms clearly show an exponential pattern of diversification, and although it is not clear whether the empirical diversification patterns are real or are artefacts of a poor fossil record, the latter explanation seems unlikely. Perhaps marine and continental organisms diversified in different ways, or perhaps the appearance of equilibrium patterns for marine organisms is an artefact of taxonomic structures.


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