Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Biol Sci. 2018 Jan 31;285(1871). pii: 20172631. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2631.

Phanerozoic pO2 and the early evolution of terrestrial animals.

Author information

1
Department of Geological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA schachat@stanford.edu.
2
Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20013, USA.
3
Department of Entomology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.
4
College of Life Sciences, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, People's Republic of China.
5
School of Earth Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43214, USA.
6
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
7
Department of Geological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Abstract

Concurrent gaps in the Late Devonian/Mississippian fossil records of insects and tetrapods (i.e. Romer's Gap) have been attributed to physiological suppression by low atmospheric pO2 Here, updated stable isotope inputs inform a reconstruction of Phanerozoic oxygen levels that contradicts the low oxygen hypothesis (and contradicts the purported role of oxygen in the evolution of gigantic insects during the late Palaeozoic), but reconciles isotope-based calculations with other proxies, like charcoal. Furthermore, statistical analysis demonstrates that the gap between the first Devonian insect and earliest diverse insect assemblages of the Pennsylvanian (Bashkirian Stage) requires no special explanation if insects were neither diverse nor abundant prior to the evolution of wings. Rather than tracking physiological constraint, the fossil record may accurately record the transformative evolutionary impact of insect flight.

KEYWORDS:

Palaeozoic; atmosphere; insect; oxygen; tetrapod; wings

PMID:
29367401
PMCID:
PMC5805952
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2017.2631
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center