Sauropodomorph Diversity through Time: Paleoecological and Macro Evolutionary Implications

Paul M. Barrett and Paul Upchurch

in The Sauropods

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780520246232
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932333 | DOI:
Sauropodomorph Diversity through Time: Paleoecological and Macro Evolutionary Implications

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This chapter investigates a number of potential macroevolutionary mechanisms that may account for sauropodomorph diversity, including various potential clade-clade interactions (coevolution and competition). It also examines the possibility that the observed changes may be at least partially accounted for by fluctuations in the frequencies of different sauropodomorph feeding mechanisms through time. There was considerable temporal overlap between prosauropods and sauropods, extending from the late Carnian to the end of the Pliensbachian. Moreover, the possible roles of several biological processes that may have influenced sauropod diversity through time are assessed. Comparisons of sauropodomorph diversity with information on Mesozoic floras reveal one possible incidence of coevolution, between titanosaurs and angiosperms, in the Late Cretaceous. The strong correlation between diversity and feeding ecology shows that herbivory and the various adaptive complexes that arose to deal with a diet of plants were central to the radiation of sauropodomorphs in the Middle and Late Jurassic.

Keywords: sauropodomorph diversity; coevolution; competition; macroevolutionary mechanisms; sauropodomorph feeding; time; prosauropods; sauropods

Chapter.  15169 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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