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Article contents

Mass extinction patterns of marine invertebrate groups and some implications for a causal phenomenon

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 April 2016

Michael L. McKinney*
Affiliation:
Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511

Abstract

A nonparametric analysis of the extinction patterns of 10 major marine invertebrate groups at the five most profound mass extinction events leads to five observations: (1) At each event some taxonomic groups were affected much more than others. (2) There is little consistency among events in terms of which taxonomic groups were most or least affected; however, adaptive groupings do exhibit consistency: benthic, mobile organisms suffered significantly fewer extinctions than sessile suspension feeders, while the pelagic organisms apparently suffered the most. (3) There are no convincing patterns of interrelated extinctions among taxonomic groups. (4) No group exhibits a persistent tendency through time for a relative increase or decrease in their extinction rate at the events. (5) Some relationships are seen between the extinction patterns of three pairs of events; the Late Ordovician and Late Devonian events exhibit a significantly similar pattern (the same taxonomic groups suffered the most extinction in both cases) as do the Late Triassic and Late Cretaceous events. The Late Permian and Late Cretaceous events show a significantly inverse pattern (the most affected groups in the former were among the least affected in the latter). Upon examination, these observations, notably 1, 2, and 5, are consonant with current scenarios of the effects of catastrophic bolide impacts on marine fauna.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Paleontological Society 

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