The authors of a study just published in Science (Heim et al., mainly from Stanford, CA, and Swarthmore College, PA) used all 50+ volumes of the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology (published by the KU Biodiversity Institute’s Paleontological Institute, which is led by Geology Professor Paul Selden) as the main dataset for a massive study that looked at 17,208 genera of marine animals spanning the past 542 million years. They found that mean biovolume across genera has increased by a factor of 150 since the Cambrian, yet minimum biovolume has decreased by less than a factor of 10, and maximum biovolume has increased by more than a factor of 100,000. They could not explain this by random drift, so suggest that the trend observed and popularized by the famous dinosaur paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope in the 1880s–1890s was shown to be accurate. Here's a link to a BBC story about the study ( and a photo from the BBC of the researchers and The Treatise.

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