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Science. 1998 Aug 7;281(5378):807-9.

Decoupled temporal patterns of evolution and ecology in two post-Paleozoic clades.

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  • 1Department of Geology, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608-2067, USA.


Counts of taxonomic diversity are the prevailing standards for documenting large-scale patterns of evolution in the fossil record. However, the secular pattern of relative ecological importance between the bryozoan clades Cyclostomata and Cheilostomata is not reflected fully in compilations of generic diversity or within-fauna species richness, and the delayed ecological recovery of the Cheilostomata after the mass extinction at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary is missed entirely. These observations demonstrate that evolutionary success and ecological dominance can be decoupled and profoundly different, even over tens of millions of years.

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