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Iterative progenesis in Upper Cretaceous ammonites

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 April 2016

Neil H. Landman
Affiliation:
Department of Invertebrates, American Museum of Natural History, 79th St. and Central Park West, New York, New York 10024

Abstract

Pteroscaphites are small, rare species of scaphitid ammonites from the Upper Cretaceous (Turonian-Santonian) of the Western Interior of North America. Their evolution appears to parallel that of the larger species of Scaphites or Clioscaphites, with which they co-occur. To investigate this evolutionary pattern, I constructed a phylogeny of all these species based on their distribution of shared derived characters including ornamentation, ammonitella size, whorl shape, umbilical diameter, sutures, number of whorls, adult size, shape of the adult body chamber, and apertural modifications. This analysis revealed numerous instances of congruence in the preadult morphology of the pteroscaphites and that of the co-occurring scaphites or clioscaphites. However, there is a marked divergence at maturity. Adult pteroscaphites are uniformly small (2.5 postembryonic whorls in their phragmocone) and develop apertural projections. The scaphites and clioscaphites exhibit a number of morphological changes at approximately the same whorl number, but secrete as many as two more whorls in their phragmocone before forming a mature body chamber with a relatively unmodified aperture. Both groups display sexual dimorphism. The process of progenesis may explain this conflicting pattern of congruence prior to maturity and divergence at maturity. Adult pteroscaphites are not mature replicas of the juvenile shells of the larger scaphites or clioscaphites, because maturation produces its own set of morphological modifications. Nevertheless, such features as the apertural projections on adult pteroscaphites may be interpreted as extrapolations of juvenile patterns of growth into maturity. The repeated associations of pteroscaphites with scaphites or clioscaphites in the Upper Cretaceous suggest that progenesis was iterative and may have represented an optional developmental pathway common to all of these species.

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Copyright © The Paleontological Society 

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