Numerous departures from ideal relationships are revealed by Monte Carlo simulations of widely accepted binomial coefficients. For example, simulations incorporating varying levels of matrix sparseness (presence of zeros indicating lack of data) and computation of expected values reveal that not only are all common coefficients influenced by zero data, but also that some coefficients do not discriminate between sparse or dense matrices (few zero data). Such coefficients computationally merge mutually shared and mutually absent information and do not exploit all the information incorporated within the standard 2 ?? 2 contingency table; therefore, the commonly used formulae for such coefficients are more complicated than the actual range of values produced. Other coefficients do differentiate between mutual presences and absences; however, a number of these coefficients do not demonstrate a linear relationship to matrix sparseness. Finally, simulations using nonrandom matrices with known degrees of row-by-row similarities signify that several coefficients either do not display a reasonable range of values or are nonlinear with respect to known relationships within the data. Analyses with nonrandom matrices yield clues as to the utility of certain coefficients for specific applications. For example, coefficients such as Jaccard, Dice, and Baroni-Urbani and Buser are useful if correction of sparseness is desired, whereas the Russell-Rao coefficient is useful when sparseness correction is not desired. ?? 1989 International Association for Mathematical Geology.