Ecological Controls on the Evolutionary Recovery of Post-Paleozoic Crinoids

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Science  29 Nov 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5292, pp. 1492-1495
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5292.1492


Analysis of morphological characters of a global sample of post-Paleozoic crinoid echinoderms shows that this group underwent a rapid diversification after the extinction at the end of the Permian to reach maximal morphological disparity by the Late Triassic, which is essentially the same evolutionary pattern seen during the group's early Paleozoic radiation. The accelerated morphological diversification of a single class implies that, even if clades surviving from the Paleozoic represented ecological incumbents that hindered the origin of new higher taxa, species within individual higher taxa rapidly exploited available ecological opportunities in the Mesozoic.

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