Global diversity dynamics in the fossil record are regionally heterogeneous

Joe T Flannery-Sutherland*, Daniele Silvestro, Michael Benton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


Global diversity patterns in the fossil record comprise a mosaic of regional trends, underpinned by spatially non-random drivers and distorted by variation in sampling intensity through time and across space. Sampling-corrected diversity estimates from spatially-standardised fossil datasets retain their regional biogeographic nuances and avoid these biases, yet diversity-through-time arises from the interplay of origination and extinction, the processes that shape macroevolutionary history. Here we present a subsampling algorithm to eliminate spatial sampling bias, coupled with advanced probabilistic methods for estimating origination and extinction rates and a Bayesian method for estimating sampling-corrected diversity. We then re-examine the Late Permian to Early Jurassic marine fossil record, an interval spanning several global biotic upheavals that shaped the origins of the modern marine biosphere. We find that origination and extinction rates are regionally heterogenous even during events that manifested globally, highlighting the need for spatially explicit views of macroevolutionary processes through geological time.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2751
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funded in part by NERC GW4+ DTP studentship S100065-138/123 awarded to J.F.S., NERC BETR grant NE/P013724/1 and European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant 788203 to M.J.B, and Swiss National Science Foundation grant PCEFP3_187012 and Swedish Research Council grant VR: 2019-04739 awarded to D.S.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


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