Shell Composition Has No Net Impact on Large-Scale Evolutionary Patterns in Mollusks

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Science  11 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5711, pp. 914-917
DOI: 10.1126/science.1106654

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A major suspected bias in the fossil record of skeletonized groups is variation in preservability owing to differences in shell composition. However, despite extensive changes in shell composition over the 500-million-year history of marine bivalves, genus duration and shell composition show few significant relationships, and of those, virtually all are contrary to bias from preferential loss of highly reactive shell types. Distortion of large-scale temporal patterns in marine bivalves owing to preservability is thus apparently weak or randomly distributed, which increases the likelihood that observed patterns in this and other shelled groups carry a strong biological signal.

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