A comparison is made between compilations of times of origination and extinction of fossil marine animal families published in 1982 and 1992. As a result of ten years of library research, half of the information in the compendia has changed: families have been added and deleted, low-resolution stratigraphic data have been improved, and intervals of origination and extinction have been altered. Despite these changes, apparent macroevolutionary patterns for the entire marine fauna have remained constant. Diversity curves compiled from the two data bases are very similar, with a goodness-of-fit of 99%; the principal difference is that the 1992 curve averages 13% higher than the older curve. Both numbers and percentages of origination and extinction also match well, with fits ranging from 83% to 95%. All major events of radiation and extinction are identical. Therefore, errors in large paleontological data bases and arbitrariness of included taxa are not necessarily impediments to the analysis of pattern in the fossil record, so long as the data are sufficiently numerous.