Diversity of Atlantic Coastal Plain Mollusks Since the Pliocene

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Science  11 Jun 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5114, pp. 1626-1629
DOI: 10.1126/science.260.5114.1626


About 70 percent of tropical western Atlantic mollusk species have become extinct since the Pliocene, which has led to perceptions of a corresponding decline in diversity. However, a compilation of gastropod species from Plio-Pleistocene faunas of the United States Atlantic coastal plain and from Recent western Atlantic faunas indicates that regional diversity has not changed since the Pliocene. Gastropod diversity in the Pliocene Pinecrest Beds in Florida approximates that seen today on either coast of Florida. Gastropod diversity is not demonstrably different in the Recent tropical western Atlantic than in the Recent tropical eastern Pacific. High extinction rates must have been balanced by high origination rates.

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