Post-Cambrian Trilobite Diversity and Evolutionary Faunas

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Science  19 Jun 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5371, pp. 1922-1925
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5371.1922

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A cluster analysis of the stratigraphic distribution of all Ordovician trilobite families, based on a comprehensive taxonomic database, identified two major faunas with disjunct temporal diversity trends. The Ibex Fauna behaved as a cohort, declining through the Ordovician and disappearing at the end-Ordovician mass extinction. In contrast, the Whiterock Fauna radiated rapidly during the Middle Ordovician and gave rise to all post-Ordovician trilobite diversity. Its pattern of diversification matches that of the Paleozoic Evolutionary Fauna; hence, trilobites were active participants in the great Ordovician radiations. Extinction patterns at the end of the Ordovician are related to clade size: Surviving trilobite families show higher genus diversity than extinguished families.

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