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Science. 2004 Oct 8;306(5694):264-6.

Morphological disparity of ammonoids and the mark of Permian mass extinctions.

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1
Centre de Sédimentologie-Paléontologie, FRE CNRS 2761, Université de Provence, 3 place Victor-Hugo, F-13331 Marseille Cedex 3, France. lvillier@up.univ-mrs.fr

Abstract

The taxonomic diversity of ammonoids, in terms of the number of taxa preserved, provides an incomplete picture of the extinction pattern during the Permian because of a strongly biased fossil record. The analysis of morphological disparity (the variety of shell shapes) is a powerful complementary tool for testing hypotheses about the selectivity of extinction and permits the recognition of three distinct patterns. First, a trend of decreasing disparity, ranging for about 30 million years, led to a minimum disparity immediately before the Permian-Triassic boundary. Second, the strongly selective Capitanian crisis fits a model of background extinction driven by standard environmental changes. Third, the end-Permian mass extinction operated as a random, nonselective sorting of morphologies, which is consistent with a catastrophic cause.

PMID:
15472073
DOI:
10.1126/science.1102127
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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