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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 May 17;108(20):8339-44. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1018959108. Epub 2011 May 2.

Resetting the evolution of marine reptiles at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary.

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1
School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1RJ, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Ichthyosaurs were important marine predators in the Early Jurassic, and an abundant and diverse component of Mesozoic marine ecosystems. Despite their ecological importance, however, the Early Jurassic species represent a reduced remnant of their former significance in the Triassic. Ichthyosaurs passed through an evolutionary bottleneck at, or close to, the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, which reduced their diversity to as few as three or four lineages. Diversity bounced back to some extent in the aftermath of the end-Triassic mass extinction, but disparity remained at less than one-tenth of pre-extinction levels, and never recovered. The group remained at low diversity and disparity for its final 100 Myr. The end-Triassic mass extinction had a previously unsuspected profound effect in resetting the evolution of apex marine predators of the Mesozoic.

PMID:
21536898
PMCID:
PMC3100925
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1018959108
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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