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Nat Commun. 2015 Aug 3;6:7848. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8848.

Climate-mediated diversification of turtles in the Cretaceous.

Author information

1
Department of Earth Sciences, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, UK.
2
Museum of Paleontology, University of California, 1101 Valley Life Sciences Building, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.
3
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3AN, UK.

Abstract

Chelonians are ectothermic, with an extensive fossil record preserved in diverse palaeoenvironmental settings: consequently, they represent excellent models for investigating organismal response to long-term environmental change. We present the first Mesozoic chelonian taxic richness curve, subsampled to remove geological/collection biases, and demonstrate that their palaeolatitudinal distributions were climate mediated. At the Jurassic/Cretaceous transition, marine taxa exhibit minimal diversity change, whereas non-marine diversity increases. A Late Cretaceous peak in 'global' non-marine subsampled richness coincides with high palaeolatitude occurrences and the Cretaceous thermal maximum (CTM): however, this peak also records increased geographic sampling and is not recovered in continental-scale diversity patterns. Nevertheless, a model-detrended richness series (insensitive to geographic sampling) also recovers a Late Cretaceous peak, suggesting genuine geographic range expansion among non-marine turtles during the CTM. Increased Late Cretaceous diversity derives from intensive North American sampling, but subsampling indicates that Early Cretaceous European/Asian diversity may have exceeded that of Late Cretaceous North America.

PMID:
26234913
PMCID:
PMC4532850
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms8848
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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