Testing Predator-Driven Evolution with Paleozoic Crinoid Arm Regeneration

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Science  03 Sep 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5689, pp. 1453-1455
DOI: 10.1126/science.1101009

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Regenerating arms of crinoids represent direct evidence of nonlethal attacks by predators and provide an opportunity for exploring the importance of predation through geologic time. Analysis of 11 Paleozoic crinoid Lagerstätten revealed a significant increase in arm regeneration during the Siluro-Devonian. During this interval, referred to as the Middle Paleozoic Marine Revolution, the diversity of shell-crushing predators increased, and antipredatory morphologies among invertebrate prey, such as crinoids, became more common. Crinoid armregeneration data suggest an increase in nonlethal attacks at this time and represent a causal link between those patterns, which implies an important role for predator-driven evolution.

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