The chiton fossil record is richer than previously reported in the literature. A newly compiled database comprised of Cambrian to Pleistocene fossil chitons totals 2594 occurrences of 900 species. Of the 900, 430 are named species known only as fossils, 123 are extant species that also have a fossil record, and 247 are indeterminate taxa. Most of the database (61%) consists of fossil chiton occurrences reported from localities other than type localities. A preliminary analysis of the data using the collector curve method suggests that the chiton fossil record has not been adequately sampled by geographic regions or geologic time. The fossil record of chitons is incomplete, sporadic, and geographically limited because the sampling record has been incomplete, sporadic, and geographically limited. The current database comprises enough information to discern diversity patterns throughout geologic time, but whether the patterns are real or artifacts of sampling inadequacy remains to be investigated.
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Vol. 25 • No. 1