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Diverse bilaterian clades emerged apparently within a few million years during the early Cambrian, and various environmental, developmental, and ecological causes have been proposed to explain this abrupt appearance. A compilation of the patterns of fossil and molecular diversification, comparative developmental data, and information on ecological feeding(More)
  • D H Erwin
  • 2001
Although mass extinctions probably account for the disappearance of less than 5% of all extinct species, the evolutionary opportunities they have created have had a disproportionate effect on the history of life. Theoretical considerations and simulations have suggested that the empty niches created by a mass extinction should refill rapidly after(More)
The Meishan section across the Permian-Triassic boundary in South China is the most thoroughly investigated in the world. A statistical analysis of the occurrences of 162 genera and 333 species confirms a sudden extinction event at 251.4 million years ago, coincident with a dramatic depletion of delta13C(carbonate) and an increase in microspherules.
Comparative developmental evidence indicates that reorganizations in developmental gene regulatory networks (GRNs) underlie evolutionary changes in animal morphology, including body plans. We argue here that the nature of the evolutionary alterations that arise from regulatory changes depends on the hierarchical position of the change within a GRN. This(More)
The end-Permian mass extinction was the most severe biodiversity crisis in Earth history. To better constrain the timing, and ultimately the causes of this event, we collected a suite of geochronologic, isotopic, and biostratigraphic data on several well-preserved sedimentary sections in South China. High-precision U-Pb dating reveals that the extinction(More)
The eumetazoan clade of modern animals includes cnidarians, acoels, deuterostomes, and protostomes. Stem group eumetazoans evolved in the late Neoproterozoic, possibly before the Marinoan glaciation, according to a variety of different kinds of evidence. Here, we combine this evidence, including paleontological observations, results from molecular and(More)
The history of life as documented by the fossil record encompasses evolutionary diversifications at scales ranging from the Ediacaran-Cambrian explosion of animal life and the invasion of land by vascular plants, insects and vertebrates to the diversification of flowering plants over the past 100 million years and the radiation of horses. Morphological(More)
In mid-September 2007, 32 paleontologists gathered at the Smithsonian Institution to spend four days discussing research frontiers in paleoecol-ogy, particularly at the interface with neoecology. They represented expertise throughout the Phanerozoic and in all major groups of fossilizable organisms. This meeting was timely, given the increasing evidence of(More)