Disputing the supposition that ecological competition drives macroevolutionary patterns is now a familiar goal in many fossil biodiversity studies. But it is an elusive goal, hampered by patchy sampling, few assemblage-level comparative analyses, unverified ecological equivalence of clades and a dearth of appropriate statistical tools. We address these concerns with a fortified and vetted compilation of 40190 fossil species occurrences of cyclostome and cheilostome bryozoans, a canonical example of one taxonomically dominant clade being displaced by another. Dramatic increases in Cretaceous cheilostome genus diversification rates begin millions of years before cheilostomes overtake cyclostomes in local species proportions. Moreover, analyses of origination and extinction rates over 150 Myr suggest that inter-clade dynamics are causally linked to each other, but not to changing assemblage-level proportions. One Sentence Summary Global fossil diversification rates and local taxonomic dominance are not causally linked. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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