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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Jul 19;91(15):6743-50.

Proterozoic and early Cambrian protists: evidence for accelerating evolutionary tempo.

Author information

  • 1Botanical Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138.
  • 2Harvard U, Cambridge, MA

Abstract

In rocks of late Paleoproterozoic and Mesoproterozoic age (ca. 1700-1000 million years ago), probable eukaryotic microfossils are widespread and well preserved, but assemblage and global diversities are low and turnover is slow. Near the Mesoproterozoic-Neoproterozoic boundary (1000 million years ago), red, green, and chromophytic algae diversified; molecular phylogenies suggest that this was part of a broader radiation of "higher" eukaryotic phyla. Observed diversity levels for protistan microfossils increased significantly at this time, as did turnover rates. Coincident with the Cambrian radiation of marine invertebrates, protistan microfossils again doubled in diversity and rates of turnover increased by an order of magnitude. Evidently, the Cambrian diversification of animals strongly influenced evolutionary rates, within clades already present in marine communities, implying an important role for ecology in fueling a Cambrian explosion that extends across kingdoms.

PMID:
8041692
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC44278
Free PMC Article
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