Signature of the end-cretaceous mass extinction in the modern biota

Andrew Z. Krug, David Jablonski, James W. Valentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

The long-term effects of mass extinctions on spatial and evolutionary dynamics have been poorly studied. Here we show that the evolutionary consequences of the end-Cretaceous [Cretaceous/Paleogene (K/Pg)] mass extinction persist in present-day biogeography. The geologic ages of genera of living marine bivalves show a significant break from a smooth exponential distribution, corresponding to the K/Pg boundary. The break reflects a permanent increase in origination rates, intermediate between the Mesozoic rate and the post-extinction recovery pulse. This global rate shift is most clearly seen today in tropical bioprovinces and weakens toward the poles. Coupled with the modern geographic distributions of taxa originating before and after the K/Pg boundary, this spatial pattern indicates that tropical origination rates after the K/Pg event have left a permanent mark on the taxonomic and biogeographic structure of the modern biota, despite the complex Cenozoic history of marine environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-771
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume323
Issue number5915
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 6 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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