Are the most durable shelly taxa also the most common in the marine fossil record?

Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Fursich, Franz T., Gastaldo, Robert A., Kidwell, Susan M., Kosnik, Matthew A., Kowalewski, Michal, Plotnick, Roy E., Rogers, Raymond R., and Alroy, John (2005) Are the most durable shelly taxa also the most common in the marine fossil record? Paleobiology, 31 (4). pp. 607-623.

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This paper tests whether the most common fossil brachiopod, gastropod, and bivalve genera also have intrinsically more durable shells. Commonness was quantified using occurrence frequency of the 450 most frequently occurring genera of these groups in the Paleobiology Database (PBDB). Durability was scored for each taxon on the basis of shell size, thickness, reinforcement (ribs, folds, spines), mineralogy, and microstructural organic content. Contrary to taphonomic expectation, common genera in the PBDB are as likely to be small, thin-shelled, and unreinforced as large, thick-shelled, ribbed, folded, or spiny. In fact, only six of the 30 tests we performed showed a statistically significant relationship between durability and occurrence frequency, and these six tests were equally divided in supporting or contradicting the taphonomic expectation. Thus, for the most commonly occurring genera in these three important groups, taphonomic effects are either neutral with respect to durability or compensated for by other factors (e.g., less durable taxa were more common in the original communities). These results suggest that biological information is retained in the occurrence frequency patterns of our target groups.

Item ID: 14075
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1938-5331
Keywords: marine fossil; record; shelly taxa
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2010 04:34
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060206 Palaeoecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 51%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 49%
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