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Plate Tectonics and Evolution

  • David I. Jablonski (a1)


The realization that the continents are mobile and not fixed in position, and the discovery of the processes driving that mobility, is one of the great scientific achievements of the 20th Century. From the outset, fossil evidence has been important in reconstructing past continental positions, usually by providing data on ancient similarities and differences that appear at odds with present-day geographies. However, the fossil record does much more than provide evidence on ancient continental positions: it also shows the diverse evolutionary effects that the dynamics of the Earth's crust have had on the passengers inhabiting those mobile continents.



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Two Web sites that show animated plate motions are: (go to “Research,” then “Plates”).
Benton, M. J. 1997. Vertebrate paleontology, 2nd Edition. Chapman & Hall, London.
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Hallam, A. 1994. An outline of Phanerozoic biogeography. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Kious, W. J., and Tilling, R. I. 1996. This dynamic Earth: The story of plate tectonics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Also available on-line at:
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Wroe, S. 1999. Killer kangaroos and other murderous marsupials. Scientific American, 280 (May):6875.


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