Monographic Effects on the Stratigraphic Distribution of Brachiopods

Gordon B. Curry

in Beyond Cladistics

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780520267725
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947993 | DOI:
Monographic Effects on the Stratigraphic Distribution of Brachiopods

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More than 220 years of taxonomic research have resulted in the description of over 5,000 different genera of Brachiopoda. The geological record of brachiopods is undoubtedly incomplete, but to an unknown extent because of variability in the fossilization process. This chapter describes the monographic effects on the stratigraphic distribution of brachiopods, based on the work of some individual taxonomists over the last 200 years. Based on this analysis, the overall pattern of brachiopod distribution throughout their geological history reveals a pattern of major “radiations” and “extinctions.” The first significant increase in brachiopod diversity occurred during the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event in which many phyla apart from brachiopods increased their diversity very significantly. Many brachiopod orders (Strophomenida, Rhynchonellida) have relatively straightforward stratigraphic distributions, involving one or more intervals of rapid diversification, followed by more or less drastic reductions in the number of recorded genera. Many of these events can be correlated with major global biodiversification or extinction events.

Keywords: Brachiopoda; extinctions; radiations; brachiopods; monographic effects; stratigraphic distributions; geological history; diversity; Strophomenida; Rhynchonellida

Chapter.  7065 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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