Diversity and Extinction of Tropical American Mollusks and Emergence of the Isthmus of Panama

Science  11 Jun 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5114, pp. 1624-1626
DOI: 10.1126/science.260.5114.1624


The gradual closure of the Panamanian seaway and the resulting environmental change stimulated an increase in Caribbean molluscan diversity rather than the mass extinction hypothesized previously on the basis of inadequate data. Upheaval of molluscan faunas did occur suddenly throughout tropical America at the end of the Pliocene as a result of more subtle, unknown causes. There is no necessary correlation between the magnitude of regional shifts in abiotic conditions and the subsequent biological response.

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