Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 May 2016
Comprehensive analysis of the Cretaceous and Tertiary decapod crustaceans of the North Pacific Rim, focused primarily on the Brachyura, has resulted in additions to our understanding of the evolution and distribution of these animals, both in that region and globally. Hypotheses about changes in climatological and paleoceanographic conditions have not been extensively tested using decapod crustaceans, although they have been well-documented globally and for the North Pacific Ocean by sedimentological and other faunal evidence. Evidence from the occurrences of decapod crustaceans supports hypotheses obtained through these other means. Because the decapod fauna was studied independent of other faunas, it provides a means by which to compare and test patterns derived from molluscan and other faunal data. The brachyuran decapods show distinctive paleobiogeographic patterns during the Cretaceous and Tertiary, and these patterns are consistent with those documented globally in the molluscan faunas and paleoceanographic modeling. Additionally, the changes in the decapod fauna reflect patterns unique to the North Pacific Ocean. The decapod fauna is primarily comprised of a North Pacific component, a North Polar component, a component of Tethyan derivation, an amphitropical component, and a component derived from the high Southern latitudes. The Cretaceous and Tertiary decapod faunas of the North Pacific Ocean were initially dominated by taxa of North Pacific origin. Decapod diversity was highest in the Pacific Northwest of North America during the Eocene, and diversity has declined steadily since that time. Diversity in Japan was relatively low among the Decapoda until the Miocene, when diversity increased markedly due to the tropical influence of the Tethys and Indo-Pacific region. Diversity has remained high in Japan into the present time. The Cretaceous, Eocene, and Miocene were times of evolutionary bursts within the Brachyura and were separated by periods of evolutionary stasis.