There are more described species of beetles than any other animal group, with over 380,000 named species. While many have remarked on the vast numbers of beetles, how they came to be such a species-rich group is still under investigation. This presentation will include a fossil-based approach to understanding the nearly 300 million-year history of beetles. An overview of their fossil history, analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of the fossil record and their patterns of origination and extinction over time will be discussed. Dr. Smith also will bring fossil beetles from the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History's Invertebrate Paleontology collection for viewing.