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Sample records for proterozoic fossil record

  1. Origin of the Eumetazoa: testing ecological predictions of molecular clocks against the Proterozoic fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peterson, Kevin J.; Butterfield, Nicholas J.

    2005-01-01

    Molecular clocks have the potential to shed light on the timing of early metazoan divergences, but differing algorithms and calibration points yield conspicuously discordant results. We argue here that competing molecular clock hypotheses should be testable in the fossil record, on the principle that fundamentally new grades of animal organization will have ecosystem-wide impacts. Using a set of seven nuclear-encoded protein sequences, we demonstrate the paraphyly of Porifera and calculate sponge/eumetazoan and cnidarian/bilaterian divergence times by using both distance [minimum evolution (ME)] and maximum likelihood (ML) molecular clocks; ME brackets the appearance of Eumetazoa between 634 and 604 Ma, whereas ML suggests it was between 867 and 748 Ma. Significantly, the ME, but not the ML, estimate is coincident with a major regime change in the Proterozoic acritarch record, including: (i) disappearance of low-diversity, evolutionarily static, pre-Ediacaran acanthomorphs; (ii) radiation of the high-diversity, short-lived Doushantuo-Pertatataka microbiota; and (iii) an order-of-magnitude increase in evolutionary turnover rate. We interpret this turnover as a consequence of the novel ecological challenges accompanying the evolution of the eumetazoan nervous system and gut. Thus, the more readily preserved microfossil record provides positive evidence for the absence of pre-Ediacaran eumetazoans and strongly supports the veracity, and therefore more general application, of the ME molecular clock.

  2. Eumetazoan fossils in terminal proterozoic phosphorites?

    PubMed

    Xiao, S; Yuan, X; Knoll, A H

    2000-12-01

    Phosphatic sedimentary rocks preserve a record of early animal life different from and complementary to that provided by Ediacaran fossils in terminal Proterozoic sandstones and shales. Phosphorites of the Doushantuo Formation, South China, contain eggs, egg cases, and stereoblastulae that document animals of unspecified phylogenetic position; small fossils containing putative spicules may specifically record the presence of sponges. Microfossils recently interpreted as the preserved gastrulae of cnidarian and bilaterian metazoans can alternatively be interpreted as conventional algal cysts and/or egg cases modified by diagenetic processes known to have had a pervasive influence on Doushantuo phosphorites. Regardless of this interpretation, evidence for Doushantuo eumetazoans is provided by millimeter-scale tubes that display tabulation and apical budding characteristic of some Cnidaria, especially the extinct tabulates. Like some Ediacaran remains, these small, benthic, colonial fossils may represent stem-group eumetazoans or stem-group cnidarians that lived in the late Proterozoic ocean. PMID:11095754

  3. Eumetazoan fossils in terminal proterozoic phosphorites?

    PubMed

    Xiao, S; Yuan, X; Knoll, A H

    2000-12-01

    Phosphatic sedimentary rocks preserve a record of early animal life different from and complementary to that provided by Ediacaran fossils in terminal Proterozoic sandstones and shales. Phosphorites of the Doushantuo Formation, South China, contain eggs, egg cases, and stereoblastulae that document animals of unspecified phylogenetic position; small fossils containing putative spicules may specifically record the presence of sponges. Microfossils recently interpreted as the preserved gastrulae of cnidarian and bilaterian metazoans can alternatively be interpreted as conventional algal cysts and/or egg cases modified by diagenetic processes known to have had a pervasive influence on Doushantuo phosphorites. Regardless of this interpretation, evidence for Doushantuo eumetazoans is provided by millimeter-scale tubes that display tabulation and apical budding characteristic of some Cnidaria, especially the extinct tabulates. Like some Ediacaran remains, these small, benthic, colonial fossils may represent stem-group eumetazoans or stem-group cnidarians that lived in the late Proterozoic ocean.

  4. Exceptional preservation of fossils in an Upper Proterozoic shale

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Butterfield, N. J.; Knoll, A. H.; Swett, K.

    1988-01-01

    An exceptionally well-preserved and distinctive assemblage of Late Proterozoic fossils from subtidal marine shales is reported. In addition to the spheromorphic acritarchs and cyanobacteria sheaths routinely preserved in Proterozoic rocks, this assemblage includes multicellular algae, a diverse assortment of morphologically complex protistan vesicles, and probable heterotrophic bacteria. Thus, it provides one of the clearest and most taxonomically varied views of Proterozoic life yet reported.

  5. Earliest Phanerozoic or latest Proterozoic fossils from the Arabian Shield

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cloud, P.; Awramik, S.M.; Morrison, K.; Hadley, D.G.

    1979-01-01

    We report here the first biologically definable fossils from pre-Saq (pre-Middle Cambrian) rocks of the Arabian Shield. They include the distinctive helically coiled tubular filaments of the oscillatorialean blue-green alga Obruchevella parva as well as two size classes of spheroidal unicells of uncertain affinity. Also present is the conical stromatolite Conophyton and unidentified stromatolites. All occur in cherty limestones of the Jubaylah Group, northern Saudi Arabia, a nonmarine to locally marine taphrogeosynclinal sequence that fills depressions along the northwest-trending Najd faults. Conophyton has heretofore been found only in strata older than about 680 Ma (except for puzzling records in modern hot springs) while Obruchevella is so far known only from rocks between about 680 and 470 Ma old. Thus it appears that the Jubaylah Group is close to the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition. The simple spheroidal nanno-fossils are not diagnostic as to age. Their relationships within what appears to be early diagenetic chert suggest a classical algal-mat association. The brecciated and microchanneled appearance of much of the fossiliferous rock, its locally dolomitic nature, and the prevalence of cryptalgalaminate favors a very shallow, locally turbulent, and perhaps episodically exposed marine or marginal marine setting. The Jubaylah Group lies unconformably beneath the Siq Sandstone (basal member of the Saq Sandstone) of medial Cambrian age, rests nonconformably on crystalline basement, and has yielded a K-Ar whole-rock age (on andesitic basalt) of ???540 Ma. To judge from the fossils, however, that age may be as much as 100 Ma or more too young. ?? 1979.

  6. The early eukaryotic fossil record.

    PubMed

    Javaux, Emmanuelle J

    2007-01-01

    The Precambrian era records the evolution of the domain Eucarya. Although the taxonomy of fossils is often impossible to resolve beyond the level of domain, their morphology and chemistry indicate the evolution of major biological innovations. The late Archean record for eukaryotes is limited to trace amounts of biomarkers. Morphological evidence appears in late Paleoproterozoic and early Mesoproterozoic (1800-1300 Ma) rocks. The moderate diversity of preservable eukaryotic organisms includes cell walls without surface ornament (but with complex ultrastructure), with regularly distributed surface ornamentation, and with irregularly or regularly arranged processes. Collectively, these fossils suggest that eukaryotes with flexible membranes and cytoskeletons existed in mid-Proterozoic oceans. The late Mesoproterozoic-early Neoproterozoic (1300-750 Ma) is a time of diversification and evolution when direct evidence for important biological innovations occurs in the fossil record such as multicellularity, sex, photosynthesis, biomineralization, predation, and heterotrophy. Members of extant clades can be recognized and include bangiophyte red algae, xanthophyte algae, cladophorale green algae, euglyphid, lobose, and filose amoebae and possible fungi. In the late Neoproterozoic, besides more diversification of ornamented fossils, florideophyte red algae and brown algae diversify, and animals take the stage. The record of biological innovations documented by the fossils shows that eukaryotes had evolved most cytological and molecular complexities very early in the Proterozoic but environmental conditions delayed their diversification within clades until oxygen level and predation pressure increased significantly. PMID:17977455

  7. Ants and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    LaPolla, John S; Dlussky, Gennady M; Perrichot, Vincent

    2013-01-01

    The dominance of ants in the terrestrial biosphere has few equals among animals today, but this was not always the case. The oldest ants appear in the fossil record 100 million years ago, but given the scarcity of their fossils, it is presumed they were relatively minor components of Mesozoic insect life. The ant fossil record consists of two primary types of fossils, each with inherent biases: as imprints in rock and as inclusions in fossilized resins (amber). New imaging technology allows ancient ant fossils to be examined in ways never before possible. This is particularly helpful because it can be difficult to distinguish true ants from non-ants in Mesozoic fossils. Fossil discoveries continue to inform our understanding of ancient ant morphological diversity, as well as provide insights into their paleobiology.

  8. The eukaryotic fossil record in deep time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Butterfield, N.

    2011-12-01

    Eukaryotic organisms are defining constituents of the Phanerozoic biosphere, but they also extend well back into the Proterozoic record, primarily in the form of microscopic body fossils. Criteria for identifying pre-Ediacaran eukaryotes include large cell size, morphologically complex cell walls and/or the recognition of diagnostically eukaryotic cell division patterns. The oldest unambiguous eukaryote currently on record is an acanthomorphic acritarch (Tappania) from the Palaeoproterozoic Semri Group of central India. Older candidate eukaryotes are difficult to distinguish from giant bacteria, prokaryotic colonies or diagenetic artefacts. In younger Meso- and Neoproterozoic strata, the challenge is to recognize particular grades and clades of eukaryotes, and to document their macro-evolutionary expression. Distinctive unicellular forms include mid-Neoproterozoic testate amoebae and phosphate biomineralizing 'scale-microfossils' comparable to an extant green alga. There is also a significant record of seaweeds, possible fungi and problematica from this interval, documenting multiple independent experiments in eukaryotic multicellularity. Taxonomically resolved forms include a bangiacean red alga and probable vaucheriacean chromalveolate algae from the late Mesoproterozoic, and populations of hydrodictyacean and siphonocladalean green algae of mid Neoproterozoic age. Despite this phylogenetic breadth, however, or arguments from molecular clocks, there is no convincing evidence for pre-Ediacaran metazoans or metaphytes. The conspicuously incomplete nature of the Proterozoic record makes it difficult to resolve larger-scale ecological and evolutionary patterns. Even so, both body fossils and biomarker data point to a pre-Ediacaran biosphere dominated overwhelming by prokaryotes. Contemporaneous eukaryotes appear to be limited to conspicuously shallow water environments, and exhibit fundamentally lower levels of morphological diversity and evolutionary turnover than

  9. Shell structure and distribution of Cloudina, a potential index fossil for the terminal Proterozoic

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grant, S. W.; Knoll, A. H. (Principal Investigator)

    1990-01-01

    Cloudina-bearing biosparites and biomicrites in the lower part of the Nama Group, Namibia, contain a wide morphological diversity of shell fragments that can all be attributed to the two named species C. hartmannae and C. riemkeae. The curved to sinuous tubular shells of Cloudina were multi-layered. Each shell layer was 8 to 50 micrometers thick and in the form of a slightly flaring tube with one end open and the other closed. Growth appears to have been periodic with successive shell layers forming within older layers. Each added layer was slightly elevated from the previous layer at the proximal end and was asymmetrically placed within the older layer so that only a portion of the new shell layer was fused to the previous layer. This type of growth left a relatively large unminerialized area between the shell layers which was often partially or fully occluded by early marine cements. The thin shell layers exhibit both plastic and brittle deformation and were likely formed of a rigid CaCO3-impregnated organic-rich material. Often the shell layers are preferentially dolomitized suggesting an original mineralogy of high-magnesian calcite. Both species in the Nama Group formed thickets, or perhaps bioherms, and this sedentary and gregarious habit suggests that Cloudina was probably a filter-feeding metazoan of at least a cnidarian grade of organization. The unusual shell structure of Cloudina gives rise to a characteristic suite of taphonomic and diagenetic features that can be used to identify Cloudina-bearing deposits within the Nama Group and in other terminal Proterozoic deposits around the world. Species of Cloudina occur in limestones from Brazil, Spain, China, and Oman in sequences consistent with a latest Proterozoic age assignment. In addition, supposed lower Cambrian, pre-trilobitic, shelly fossils from northwest Mexico and the White-Inyo Mountains in California and Nevada, including Sinotubulites, Nevadatubulus, and Wyattia, are all either closely related

  10. Shell structure and distribution of Cloudina, a potential index fossil for the terminal Proterozoic.

    PubMed

    Grant, S W

    1990-01-01

    Cloudina-bearing biosparites and biomicrites in the lower part of the Nama Group, Namibia, contain a wide morphological diversity of shell fragments that can all be attributed to the two named species C. hartmannae and C. riemkeae. The curved to sinuous tubular shells of Cloudina were multi-layered. Each shell layer was 8 to 50 micrometers thick and in the form of a slightly flaring tube with one end open and the other closed. Growth appears to have been periodic with successive shell layers forming within older layers. Each added layer was slightly elevated from the previous layer at the proximal end and was asymmetrically placed within the older layer so that only a portion of the new shell layer was fused to the previous layer. This type of growth left a relatively large unminerialized area between the shell layers which was often partially or fully occluded by early marine cements. The thin shell layers exhibit both plastic and brittle deformation and were likely formed of a rigid CaCO3-impregnated organic-rich material. Often the shell layers are preferentially dolomitized suggesting an original mineralogy of high-magnesian calcite. Both species in the Nama Group formed thickets, or perhaps bioherms, and this sedentary and gregarious habit suggests that Cloudina was probably a filter-feeding metazoan of at least a cnidarian grade of organization. The unusual shell structure of Cloudina gives rise to a characteristic suite of taphonomic and diagenetic features that can be used to identify Cloudina-bearing deposits within the Nama Group and in other terminal Proterozoic deposits around the world. Species of Cloudina occur in limestones from Brazil, Spain, China, and Oman in sequences consistent with a latest Proterozoic age assignment. In addition, supposed lower Cambrian, pre-trilobitic, shelly fossils from northwest Mexico and the White-Inyo Mountains in California and Nevada, including Sinotubulites, Nevadatubulus, and Wyattia, are all either closely related

  11. Extinction and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, ,. J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1994-01-01

    The author examines evidence of mass extinctions in the fossil record and searches for reasons for such large extinctions. Five major mass extinctions eliminated at least 40 percent of animal genera in the oceans and from 65 to 95 percent of ocean species. Questions include the occurrence of gradual or catastrophic extinctions, causes, environment, the capacity of a perturbation to cause extinctions each time it happens, and the possibility and identification of complex events leading to a mass extinction.

  12. The Precambrian palaeomagnetic record: the case for the Proterozoic Supercontinent

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Piper, J. D. A.

    1982-06-01

    The case for a single supercontinent in Proterozoic times is examined in the context of a modified reconstruction with the Precambrian shields collectively comprising a primary lens-shaped body of crust. The palaeomagnetic data base is now sufficient to provide a definitive test of this model and it is shown that palaeopoles from the major shields conform to a single narrow path from ca. 2600 to 570 Ma. The agreement is especially compelling because the model requires no stringent data selection although it is itself highly rigid with adjustments only necessary at 1100 Ma and then applicable only to peripheral shields. There is close correspondence of the predominant field polarities from the constituent shields giving added confidence that the same polarities are being correlated, and the model supports the view that the global palaeoradius has been approximately constant since 2600 Ma. The pre-2200 Ma palaeopoles from Laurentia define "track 6" which is shown to be precisely applicable to the contemporaneous record from the African, the Australian, and possibly the Indian, Shields. The post-2200 Ma palaeopoles record higher rates of apparent polar wander (a.p.w.) movement although the magnitude of these movements is identified within one shield (the Laurentian) alone, and the data from other shields continue to conform to the unique reconstruction. The a.p.w, path is best constrained by the data from anorogenic igneous units over the intervals 2600-1800 and 1500-1000 Ma with second rank data from sedimentary successions in all of the major shields supporting the path defined by the igneous data.The a.p.w, paths over the intervals 1800-1500 and 1000-850 Ma are represented predominantly by uplift magnetisations in metamorphic terrains of the Fennoscandian and Laurentian Shields, although they are matched by magnetisations in supracrustal successions in Africa, South America and Australia, and in Africa and Siberia, respectively. The weakest part of the analysis

  13. Organic molecules as chemical fossils - The molecular fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eglinton, G.

    1983-01-01

    The study of biochemical clues to the early earth and the origin of life is discussed. The methods used in such investigation are described, including the extraction, fractionation, and analysis of geolipids and the analysis of kerogen. The occurrence of molecular fossils in the geological record is examined, discussing proposed precursor-product relationships and the molecular assessment of deep sea sediments, ancient sediments, and crude petroleums. Alterations in the molecular record due to diagenesis and catagenesis are considered, and the use of microbial lipids as molecular fossils is discussed. The results of searches for molecular fossils in Precambrian sediments are assessed.

  14. Giving the early fossil record of sponges a squeeze.

    PubMed

    Antcliffe, Jonathan B; Callow, Richard H T; Brasier, Martin D

    2014-11-01

    Twenty candidate fossils with claim to be the oldest representative of the Phylum Porifera have been re-analysed. Three criteria are used to assess each candidate: (i) the diagnostic criteria needed to categorize sponges in the fossil record; (ii) the presence, or absence, of such diagnostic features in the putative poriferan fossils; and (iii) the age constraints for the candidate fossils. All three criteria are critical to the correct interpretation of any fossil and its placement within an evolutionary context. Our analysis shows that no Precambrian fossil candidate yet satisfies all three of these criteria to be a reliable sponge fossil. The oldest widely accepted candidate, Mongolian silica hexacts from c. 545 million years ago (Ma), are here shown to be cruciform arsenopyrite crystals. The oldest reliable sponge remains are siliceous spicules from the basal Cambrian (Protohertzina anabarica Zone) Soltanieh Formation, Iran, which are described and analysed here in detail for the first time. Extensive archaeocyathan sponge reefs emerge and radiate as late as the middle of the Fortunian Stage of the Cambrian and demonstrate a gradual assembly of their skeletal structure through this time coincident with the evolution of other metazoan groups. Since the Porifera are basal in the Metazoa, their presence within the late Proterozoic has been widely anticipated. Molecular clock calibration for the earliest Porifera and Metazoa should now be based on the Iranian hexactinellid material dated to c. 535 Ma. The earliest convincing fossil sponge remains appeared at around the time of the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary, associated with the great radiation events of that interval.

  15. Giving the early fossil record of sponges a squeeze.

    PubMed

    Antcliffe, Jonathan B; Callow, Richard H T; Brasier, Martin D

    2014-11-01

    Twenty candidate fossils with claim to be the oldest representative of the Phylum Porifera have been re-analysed. Three criteria are used to assess each candidate: (i) the diagnostic criteria needed to categorize sponges in the fossil record; (ii) the presence, or absence, of such diagnostic features in the putative poriferan fossils; and (iii) the age constraints for the candidate fossils. All three criteria are critical to the correct interpretation of any fossil and its placement within an evolutionary context. Our analysis shows that no Precambrian fossil candidate yet satisfies all three of these criteria to be a reliable sponge fossil. The oldest widely accepted candidate, Mongolian silica hexacts from c. 545 million years ago (Ma), are here shown to be cruciform arsenopyrite crystals. The oldest reliable sponge remains are siliceous spicules from the basal Cambrian (Protohertzina anabarica Zone) Soltanieh Formation, Iran, which are described and analysed here in detail for the first time. Extensive archaeocyathan sponge reefs emerge and radiate as late as the middle of the Fortunian Stage of the Cambrian and demonstrate a gradual assembly of their skeletal structure through this time coincident with the evolution of other metazoan groups. Since the Porifera are basal in the Metazoa, their presence within the late Proterozoic has been widely anticipated. Molecular clock calibration for the earliest Porifera and Metazoa should now be based on the Iranian hexactinellid material dated to c. 535 Ma. The earliest convincing fossil sponge remains appeared at around the time of the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary, associated with the great radiation events of that interval. PMID:24779547

  16. Reconciling molecular phylogenies with the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Morlon, Hélène; Parsons, Todd L; Plotkin, Joshua B

    2011-09-27

    Historical patterns of species diversity inferred from phylogenies typically contradict the direct evidence found in the fossil record. According to the fossil record, species frequently go extinct, and many clades experience periods of dramatic diversity loss. However, most analyses of molecular phylogenies fail to identify any periods of declining diversity, and they typically infer low levels of extinction. This striking inconsistency between phylogenies and fossils limits our understanding of macroevolution, and it undermines our confidence in phylogenetic inference. Here, we show that realistic extinction rates and diversity trajectories can be inferred from molecular phylogenies. To make this inference, we derive an analytic expression for the likelihood of a phylogeny that accommodates scenarios of declining diversity, time-variable rates, and incomplete sampling; we show that this likelihood expression reliably detects periods of diversity loss using simulation. We then study the cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), a group for which standard phylogenetic inferences are strikingly inconsistent with fossil data. When the cetacean phylogeny is considered as a whole, recently radiating clades, such as the Balaneopteridae, Delphinidae, Phocoenidae, and Ziphiidae, mask the signal of extinctions. However, when isolating these groups, we infer diversity dynamics that are consistent with the fossil record. These results reconcile molecular phylogenies with fossil data, and they suggest that most extant cetaceans arose from four recent radiations, with a few additional species arising from clades that have been in decline over the last ~10 Myr. PMID:21930899

  17. Insect diversity in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Labandeira, C. C.; Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1993-01-01

    Insects possess a surprisingly extensive fossil record. Compilation of the geochronologic ranges of insect families demonstrates that their diversity exceeds that of preserved vertebrate tetrapods through 91 percent of their evolutionary history. The great diversity of insects was achieved not by high origination rates but rather by low extinction rates comparable to the low rates of slowly evolving marine invertebrate groups. The great radiation of modern insects began 245 million years ago and was not accelerated by the expansion of angiosperms during the Cretaceous period. The basic trophic machinery of insects was in place nearly 100 million years before angiosperms appeared in the fossil record.

  18. Insect diversity in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Labandeira, C C; Sepkoski, J J

    1993-07-16

    Insects possess a surprisingly extensive fossil record. Compilation of the geochronologic ranges of insect families demonstrates that their diversity exceeds that of preserved vertebrate tetrapods through 91 percent of their evolutionary history. The great diversity of insects was achieved not by high origination rates but rather by low extinction rates comparable to the low rates of slowly evolving marine invertebrate groups. The great radiation of modern insects began 245 million years ago and was not accelerated by the expansion of angiosperms during the Cretaceous period. The basic trophic machinery of insects was in place nearly 100 million years before angiosperms appeared in the fossil record.

  19. Adaptation, plant evolution, and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Niklas, K. J.

    1987-01-01

    The importance of adaptation in determining patterns of evolution has become an important focus of debate in evolutionary biology. As it pertains to paleobotany, the issue is whether or not adaptive evolution mediated by natural selection is sufficient to explain the stratigraphic distributions of taxa and character states observed in the plant fossil record. One means of addressing this question is the functional evaluation of stratigraphic series of plant organs set in the context of paleoenvironmental change and temporal patterns of floral composition within environments. For certain organ systems, quantitative estimates of biophysical performance can be made on the basis of structures preserved in the fossil record. Performance estimates for plants separated in time or space can be compared directly. Implicit in different hypotheses of the forces that shape the evolutionary record (e.g. adaptation, mass extinction, rapid environmental change, chance) are predictions about stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental trends in the efficacy of functional performance. Existing data suggest that following the evolution of a significant structural innovation, adaptation for improved functional performance can be a major determinant of evolutionary changes in plants; however, there are structural and development limits to functional improvement, and once these are reached, the structure in question may no longer figure strongly in selection until and unless a new innovation evolves. The Silurian-Devonian paleobotanical record is consistent with the hypothesis that the succession of lowland floodplain dominants preserved in the fossil record of this interval was determined principally by the repeated evolution of new taxa that rose to ecological importance because of competitive advantages conferred by improved biophysical performance. This does not seem to be equally true for Carboniferous-Jurassic dominants of swamp and lowland floodplain environments. In these cases

  20. Rates of speciation in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1998-01-01

    Data from palaeontology and biodiversity suggest that the global biota should produce an average of three new species per year. However, the fossil record shows large variation around this mean. Rates of origination have declined through the Phanerozoic. This appears to have been largely a function of sorting among higher taxa (especially classes), which exhibit characteristic rates of speciation (and extinction) that differ among them by nearly an order of magnitude. Secular decline of origination rates is hardly constant, however; many positive deviations reflect accelerated speciation during rebounds from mass extinctions. There has also been general decline in rates of speciation within major taxa through their histories, although rates have tended to remain higher among members in tropical regions. Finally, pulses of speciation appear sometimes to be associated with climate change, although moderate oscillations of climate do not necessarily promote speciation despite forcing changes in species' geographical ranges.

  1. Rates of speciation in the fossil record.

    PubMed Central

    Sepkoski, J J

    1998-01-01

    Data from palaeontology and biodiversity suggest that the global biota should produce an average of three new species per year. However, the fossil record shows large variation around this mean. Rates of origination have declined through the Phanerozoic. This appears to have been largely a function of sorting among higher taxa (especially classes), which exhibit characteristic rates of speciation (and extinction) that differ among them by nearly an order of magnitude. Secular decline of origination rates is hardly constant, however; many positive deviations reflect accelerated speciation during rebounds from mass extinctions. There has also been general decline in rates of speciation within major taxa through their histories, although rates have tended to remain higher among members in tropical regions. Finally, pulses of speciation appear sometimes to be associated with climate change, although moderate oscillations of climate do not necessarily promote speciation despite forcing changes in species' geographical ranges. PMID:11541734

  2. Aestivation in the fossil record: evidence from ichnology.

    PubMed

    Hembree, Daniel I

    2010-01-01

    Aestivation is a physiological and behavioral response to high temperature or low moisture conditions. Therefore, it is typically not considered to be capable of being preserved in the fossil record. However, most aestivating organisms produce a burrow to protect themselves from the harmful environmental conditions that trigger aestivation. These structures can be preserved in the rock record as trace fossils. While trace fossils are abundant in the continental fossil record, few are definitively associated with aestivation. Interpreting aestivation behavior from fossil burrows requires a detailed examination and interpretation of the surrounding sedimentary rocks and comparisons with taxonomically and ecologically similar extant organisms. Currently, only four types of aestivation structures are recognized in the fossil record: Pleistocene earthworm chambers, Devonian to Cretaceous lungfish burrows, Permian lysorophid burrows, and Permian to Triassic dicynodont burrows. The trace fossil evidence suggests that aestivation evolved independently among continental organisms in several clades during the middle to late Paleozoic.

  3. The Quaternary fossil-pollen record and global change

    SciTech Connect

    Grimm, E.C. . Research and Collections Center)

    1993-03-01

    Fossil pollen provide one of the most valuable records of vegetation and climate change during the recent geological past. Advantages of the fossil-pollen record are that deposits containing fossil pollen are widespread, especially in areas having natural lakes, that fossil pollen occurs in continuous stratigraphic sequences spanning millennia, and that fossil pollen occurs in quantitative assemblages permitting a multivariate approach for reconstructing past vegetation and climates. Because of stratigraphic continuity, fossil pollen records climate cycles on a wide range of scales, from annual to the 100 ka Milankovitch cycles. Receiving particular emphasis recently are decadal to century scale changes, possible from the sediments of varved lakes, and late Pleistocene events on a 5--10 ka scale possibly correlating with the Heinrich events in the North Atlantic marine record or the Dansgaard-Oeschger events in the Greenland ice-core record. Researchers have long reconstructed vegetation and climate by qualitative interpretation of the fossil-pollen record. Recently quantitative interpretation has developed with the aid of large fossil-pollen databases and sophisticated numerical models. In addition, fossil pollen are important climate proxy data for validating General Circulation Models, which are used for predicting the possible magnitude future climate change. Fossil-pollen data also contribute to an understanding of ecological issues associated with global climate change, including questions of how and how rapidly ecosystems might respond to abrupt climate change.

  4. Special Creation and the Fossil Record: The Central Fallacy.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Miller, Kenneth R.

    1982-01-01

    Fossil records are used to point out two major flaws in the scientific creationist theory: (1) factual evidence does not support the theory, and (2) the creationists' own characterization of the fossil record contradicts their theory. Claims that creationists avoid discussing specifics about their model because of weaknesses. (DC)

  5. The reconstructed evolutionary process with the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Didier, Gilles; Royer-Carenzi, Manuela; Laurin, Michel

    2012-12-21

    Using the fossil record yields more detailed reconstructions of the evolutionary process than what is obtained from contemporary lineages only. In this work, we present a stochastic process modeling not only speciation and extinction, but also fossil finds. Next, we derive an explicit formula for the likelihood of a reconstructed phylogeny with fossils, which can be used to estimate the speciation and extinction rates. Finally, we provide a comparative simulation-based evaluation of the accuracy of estimations of these rates from complete phylogenies (including extinct lineages), from reconstructions with contemporary lineages only and from reconstructions with contemporary lineages and the fossil record. Results show that taking the fossil record into account yields more accurate estimates of speciation and extinction rates than considering only contemporary lineages.

  6. The shape of pterosaur evolution: evidence from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Dyke, G J; McGowan, A J; Nudds, R L; Smith, D

    2009-04-01

    Although pterosaurs are a well-known lineage of Mesozoic flying reptiles, their fossil record and evolutionary dynamics have never been adequately quantified. On the basis of a comprehensive data set of fossil occurrences correlated with taxon-specific limb measurements, we show that the geological ages of pterosaur specimens closely approximate hypothesized patterns of phylogenetic divergence. Although the fossil record has expanded greatly in recent years, collectorship still approximates a sigmoid curve over time as many more specimens (and thus taxa) still remain undiscovered, yet our data suggest that the pterosaur fossil record is unbiased by sites of exceptional preservation (lagerstätte). This is because as new species are discovered the number of known formations and sites yielding pterosaur fossils has also increased - this would not be expected if the bulk of the record came from just a few exceptional faunas. Pterosaur morphological diversification is, however, strongly age biased: rarefaction analysis shows that peaks of diversity occur in the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous correlated with periods of increased limb disparity. In this respect, pterosaurs appear unique amongst flying vertebrates in that their disparity seems to have peaked relatively late in clade history. Comparative analyses also show that there is little evidence that the evolutionary diversification of pterosaurs was in any way constrained by the appearance and radiation of birds.

  7. How Good is the Fossil Record?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Boucot, A. J.

    1983-01-01

    Suggests that earth scientists become active in the creationist debate by making sure that the religious concept creationism is not taught in schools and that well-based, informative material about organic evolution, earth's age, and nature of stratigraphic record are employed by science teachers. (Author/JN)

  8. Trace sulfate in mid-Proterozoic carbonates and the sulfur isotope record of biospheric evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gellatly, Anne M.; Lyons, Timothy W.

    2005-08-01

    Concentrations of oceanic and atmospheric oxygen have varied over geologic time as a function of sulfur and carbon cycling at or near the Earth's surface. This balance is expressed in the sulfur isotope composition of seawater sulfate. Given the near absence of gypsum in pre-Phanerozoic sediments, trace amounts of carbonate-associated sulfate (CAS) within limestones or dolostones provide the best available constraints on the isotopic composition of sulfate in Precambrian seawater. Although absolute CAS concentrations, which range from those below detection to ˜120 ppm sulfate in this study, may be compromised by diagenesis, the sulfur isotope compositions can be buffered sufficiently to retain primary values. Stratigraphically controlled δ 34S measurements for CAS from three mid-Proterozoic carbonate successions (˜1.2 Ga Mescal Limestone, Apache Group, Arizona, USA; ˜1.45-1.47 Ga Helena and Newland formations, Belt Supergroup, Montana, USA; and ˜1.65 Ga Paradise Creek Formation, McNamara Group, NW Queensland, Australia) show large isotopic variability (+9.1‰ to +18.9‰, -1.1‰ to +27.3‰, and +14.1‰ to +37.3‰, respectively) over stratigraphic intervals of ˜50 to 450 m. This rapid variability, ranging from scattered to highly systematic, and overall low CAS abundances can be linked to sulfate concentrations in the mid-Proterozoic ocean that were substantially lower than those of the Phanerozoic but higher than values inferred for the Archean. Results from the Belt Supergroup specifically corroborate previous arguments for seawater contributions to the basin. Limited sulfate availability that tracks the oxygenation history of the early atmosphere is also consistent with the possibility of extensive deep-ocean sulfate reduction, the scarcity of bedded gypsum, and the stratigraphic δ 34S trends and 34S enrichments commonly observed for iron sulfides of mid-Proterozoic age.

  9. Evidence for Evolution from the Vertebrate Fossil Record.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gingerich, Philip D.

    1983-01-01

    Discusses three examples of evolutionary transition in the vertebrate fossil record, considering evolutionary transitions at the species level. Uses archaic squirrel-like Paleocine primates, the earliest primates of modern aspect, as examples. Also reviews new evidence on the origin of whales and their transition from land to sea. (JN)

  10. Absolute measures of the completeness of the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Foote, M.; Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1999-01-01

    Measuring the completeness of the fossil record is essential to understanding evolution over long timescales, particularly when comparing evolutionary patterns among biological groups with different preservational properties. Completeness measures have been presented for various groups based on gaps in the stratigraphic ranges of fossil taxa and on hypothetical lineages implied by estimated evolutionary trees. Here we present and compare quantitative, widely applicable absolute measures of completeness at two taxonomic levels for a broader sample of higher taxa of marine animals than has previously been available. We provide an estimate of the probability of genus preservation per stratigraphic interval, and determine the proportion of living families with some fossil record. The two completeness measures use very different data and calculations. The probability of genus preservation depends almost entirely on the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic records, whereas the proportion of living families with a fossil record is influenced largely by Cenozoic data. These measurements are nonetheless highly correlated, with outliers quite explicable, and we find that completeness is rather high for many animal groups.

  11. Absolute measures of the completeness of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Foote, M; Sepkoski, J J

    1999-04-01

    Measuring the completeness of the fossil record is essential to understanding evolution over long timescales, particularly when comparing evolutionary patterns among biological groups with different preservational properties. Completeness measures have been presented for various groups based on gaps in the stratigraphic ranges of fossil taxa and on hypothetical lineages implied by estimated evolutionary trees. Here we present and compare quantitative, widely applicable absolute measures of completeness at two taxonomic levels for a broader sample of higher taxa of marine animals than has previously been available. We provide an estimate of the probability of genus preservation per stratigraphic interval, and determine the proportion of living families with some fossil record. The two completeness measures use very different data and calculations. The probability of genus preservation depends almost entirely on the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic records, whereas the proportion of living families with a fossil record is influenced largely by Cenozoic data. These measurements are nonetheless highly correlated, with outliers quite explicable, and we find that completeness is rather high for many animal groups.

  12. Testing New Proxies for Photosymbiosis in the Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tornabene, C.; Martindale, R. C.; Schaller, M. F.

    2015-12-01

    Photosymbiosis is a mutualistic relationship that many corals have developed with dinoflagellates called zooxanthellae. The dinoflagellates, of the genus Symbiodinium, photosynthesize and provide corals with most of their energy, while in turn coral hosts live in waters where zooxanthellae have optimal exposure to sunlight. Thanks to this relationship, symbiotic corals calcify faster than non-symbiotic corals. Photosymbiosis is therefore considered the evolutionary innovation that allowed corals to become major reef-builders through geological time.This relationship is extremely difficult to study. Zooxanthellae, which are housed in the coral tissue, are not preserved in fossil coral skeletons, thus determining whether corals had symbionts requires a robust proxy. In order to address this critical question, the goal of this research is to test new proxies for ancient photosymbiosis. Currently the project is focused on assessing the nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes of corals' organic matrices, sensu Muscatine et al. (2005), as well as carbon and oxygen (δ13C, δ18O) isotopes of fossil coral skeletons. Samples from Modern, Pleistocene, Oligocene and Triassic coral skeletons were analyzed to test the validity of these proxies. Coral samples comprise both (interpreted) symbiotic and non-symbiotic fossil corals from the Oligocene and Triassic as well as symbiotic fossil corals from the Modern and Pleistocene to corroborate our findings with the results of Muscatine et al. (2005). Samples were tested for diagenesis through petrographic and scanning electron microscope (SEM) analyses to avoid contamination. Additionally, a novel technique that has not yet been applied to the fossil record was tested. The technique aims to recognize dinosterol, a dinoflagellate biomarker, in both modern and fossil coral samples. The premise of this proxy is that symbiotic corals should contain the dinoflagellate biomarker, whereas those lacking symbionts should lack dinosterol. Results from this

  13. The global record of local iron geochemical data from Proterozoic through Paleozoic basins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sperling, E. A.; Wolock, C.; Johnston, D. T.; Knoll, A. H.

    2013-12-01

    Iron-based redox proxies represent one of the most mature tools available to sedimentary geochemists. These techniques, which benefit from decades of refinement, are based on the fact that rocks deposited under anoxic conditions tend to be enriched in highly-reactive iron. However, there are myriad local controls on the development of anoxia, and no local section is an exemplar for the global ocean. The global signal must thus be determined using techniques like those developed to solve an analogous problem in paleobiology: the inference of global diversity patterns through time from faunas seen in local stratigraphic sections. Here we analyze a dataset of over 4000 iron speciation measurements (including over 600 de novo analyses) to better understand redox changes from the Proterozoic through the Paleozoic Era. Preliminary database analyses yield interesting observations. We find that although anoxic water columns in the middle Proterozoic were dominantly ferruginous, there was a statistical tendency towards euxinia not seen in early Neoproterozoic or Ediacaran data. Also, we find that in the Neoproterozoic oceans, oxic depositional environments-the likely home for early animals-have exceptionally low pyrite contents, and by inference low levels of porewater sulfide. This runs contrary to notions of sulfide stress on early metazoans. Finally, the current database of iron speciation data does not support an Ediacaran or Cambrian oxygenation event. This conclusion is of course only as sharp as the ability of the Fe-proxy database to track dissolved oxygen and does not rule out the possibility of a small-magnitude change in oxygen. It does suggest, however, that if changing pO2 facilitated animal diversification it did so by a limited rise past critical ecological thresholds, such as seen in the modern Oxygen Minimum Zones benthos. Oxygen increase to modern levels thus becomes a Paleozoic problem, and one in need of better sampling if a database approach is to be

  14. Empirical Records of Environmental Change across the Archean-Proterozoic Transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaufman, A. J.

    2011-12-01

    Time-series geochemical analyses of scientific drill cores intersecting the Archean-Proterozoic transition suggest a coupling of environmental and biological change that culminated in the pervasive oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere and oceans. Elemental and multiple isotope measurements of sedimentary archives, including carbonate, shale, and banded iron-formation from Western Australia, South Africa, Brazil, and southern Canada, indicate important changes in the carbon, sulfur, and nitrogen cycles that monitor the redox state of the oceans and the cyanobacterial buildup of atmospheric oxygen and ozone. In response, continental weathering would have increased, resulting in the enhanced delivery of sulfate and nutrients to seawater, further stimulating photoautotrophic fluxes of oxygen to surface environments. The positive feedback may additionally be responsible for the decline of atmospheric methane and surface refrigeration, represented by a series of discrete ice ages beginning around 2.4 billion years ago, due to the loss of greenhouse capacity during a time of lower solar luminosity. While speculative, the linkage of surface oxidation with enhanced nutrient supply and development of stratospheric sunscreen soon after the Archean-Proterozoic boundary suggests that the earliest perturbation in the carbon cycle may be associated with the rapid expansion of single-celled eukaryotes. Both sterol synthesis in eukaryotes and aerobic respiration require significant levels of oxygen in the ambient environment. Hence, Earth's earliest ice age(s) and onset of a modern and far more energetic carbon cycle may have been directly related to the global expansion of cyanobacteria that released oxygen to the environment, and of eukaryotes that respired it.

  15. Earth's early fossil record: Why not look for similar fossils on Mars?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Awramik, Stanley M.

    1989-01-01

    The oldest evidence of life on Earth is discussed with attention being given to the structure and formation of stromatolites and microfossils. Fossilization of microbes in calcium carbonate or chert media is discussed. In searching for fossil remains on Mars, some lessons learned from the study of Earth's earliest fossil record can be applied. Certain sedimentary rock types and sedimentary rock configurations should be targeted for investigation and returned by the Martian rover and ultimately by human explorers. Domical, columnar to wavy laminated stratiform sedimentary rocks that resemble stromatolites should be actively sought. Limestone, other carbonates, and chert are the favored lithology. Being macroscopic, stromatolites might be recognized by an intelligent unmanned rover. In addition, black, waxy chert with conchoidal fracture should be sought. Chert is by far the preferred lithology for the preservation of microbes and chemical fossils. Even under optimal geological conditions (little or no metamorphism or tectonic alteration, excellent outcrops, and good black chert) and using experienced field biogeologists, the chances of finding well preserved microbial remains in chert are very low.

  16. Eukaryotic organisms in Proterozoic oceans.

    PubMed

    Knoll, A H; Javaux, E J; Hewitt, D; Cohen, P

    2006-06-29

    The geological record of protists begins well before the Ediacaran and Cambrian diversification of animals, but the antiquity of that history, its reliability as a chronicle of evolution and the causal inferences that can be drawn from it remain subjects of debate. Well-preserved protists are known from a relatively small number of Proterozoic formations, but taphonomic considerations suggest that they capture at least broad aspects of early eukaryotic evolution. A modest diversity of problematic, possibly stem group protists occurs in ca 1800-1300 Myr old rocks. 1300-720 Myr fossils document the divergence of major eukaryotic clades, but only with the Ediacaran-Cambrian radiation of animals did diversity increase within most clades with fossilizable members. While taxonomic placement of many Proterozoic eukaryotes may be arguable, the presence of characters used for that placement is not. Focus on character evolution permits inferences about the innovations in cell biology and development that underpin the taxonomic and morphological diversification of eukaryotic organisms.

  17. Eukaryotic organisms in Proterozoic oceans

    PubMed Central

    Knoll, A.H; Javaux, E.J; Hewitt, D; Cohen, P

    2006-01-01

    The geological record of protists begins well before the Ediacaran and Cambrian diversification of animals, but the antiquity of that history, its reliability as a chronicle of evolution and the causal inferences that can be drawn from it remain subjects of debate. Well-preserved protists are known from a relatively small number of Proterozoic formations, but taphonomic considerations suggest that they capture at least broad aspects of early eukaryotic evolution. A modest diversity of problematic, possibly stem group protists occurs in ca 1800–1300 Myr old rocks. 1300–720 Myr fossils document the divergence of major eukaryotic clades, but only with the Ediacaran–Cambrian radiation of animals did diversity increase within most clades with fossilizable members. While taxonomic placement of many Proterozoic eukaryotes may be arguable, the presence of characters used for that placement is not. Focus on character evolution permits inferences about the innovations in cell biology and development that underpin the taxonomic and morphological diversification of eukaryotic organisms. PMID:16754612

  18. Diversity dynamics: molecular phylogenies need the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles R

    2010-08-01

    Over the last two decades, new tools in the analysis of molecular phylogenies have enabled study of the diversification dynamics of living clades in the absence of information about extinct lineages. However, computer simulations and the fossil record show that the inability to access extinct lineages severely limits the inferences that can be drawn from molecular phylogenies. It appears that molecular phylogenies can tell us only when there have been changes in diversification rates, but are blind to the true diversity trajectories and rates of origination and extinction that have led to the species that are alive today. We need to embrace the fossil record if we want to fully understand the diversity dynamics of the living biota. PMID:20646780

  19. Latest Proterozoic stratigraphy and earth history

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, Andrew H.; Walter, Malcolm R.

    1992-01-01

    Novel biostratigraphic and chemostratigraphic data furnish an improved framework for stratigraphic correlation of the Proterozoic Eon as well as tools for a chronostratigraphic division of the late Proterozoic. It is argued that, in conjunction with geochronometric data, protistan microfossils and isotope geochemistry can furnish a means for an eventual integration of the latest Proterozoic Eon. Attention is given to the emerging methodologies of fossil protists and prokaryotes and of isotopic chemostratigraphy.

  20. Exopaleontology and the search for a fossil record on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farmer, Jack D.; Desmarais, D. J.

    1994-01-01

    Although present Martian surface conditions appear unfavorable for life as we know it, there is compelling geological evidence that the climate of early Mars was much more Earth-like, with a denser atmosphere and abundant surface water. The fact that life developed on the Earth within the first billion years of its history makes it quite plausible that life may have also developed on Mars. If life did develop on Mars, it is likely to have left behind a fossil record. This has led to the development of a new subdiscipline of paleontology, herein termed 'exopaleontology', which deals with the exploration for fossils on other planets. The most important factor enhancing microbial fossilization is the rapid entombment of microorganisms by fine-grained, stable mineral phases, such as silica, phosphate, or carbonate. The oldest body fossils on Earth are preserved in this way, occurring as permineralized cells in fine-grained siliceous sediments (cherts) associated with ancient volcanic terranes in Australia and South Africa. Modern terrestrial environments where minerals may precipitate in the presence of microorganisms include subaerial thermal springs and shallow hydrothermal systems, sub-lacustrine springs and evaporitic alkaline lakes, zones of mineralization within soils where 'hardpans' (e.g. calcretes, silcretes) form, and high latitude frozen soils or ground ice.

  1. First record of Podocarpoid fossil wood in South China

    PubMed Central

    Li, Long; Jin, Jian-Hua; Quan, Cheng; Oskolski, Alexei A.

    2016-01-01

    A new species of fossil conifer wood, Podocarpoxylon donghuaiense sp. nov., is described from the late Eocene of Nadu Formation in Baise Basin of the Guangxi Province, South China. This fossil wood is characterized by distinct growth rings, circular to oval tracheids in cross section, 1–2-seriate opposite pits on radial tracheid walls, uniseriate (rarely biseriate) rays, smooth end walls of ray parenchyma cells, and the absence of resin ducts, suggesting its affinity to Podocarpaceae. The new species is distinctive from other Cenozoic woods ascribed to this family by the combination of distinctive growth rings, the absence of axial parenchyma, the occurrence of bordered pits on tangential tracheid walls, and the occurrence of 3–4 cuppressoid or taxodioid pits on cross-fields. This represents the first record of podocarpoid fossil wood in South China and provides fossil evidence for the early dispersal and diversification of Podocarpaceae in eastern Asia as well as for mild temperate seasonal climate in this region during the late Eocene. PMID:27571780

  2. Exopaleontology and the search for a fossil record on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Farmer, Jack D.; Desmarais, D. J.

    1994-03-01

    Although present Martian surface conditions appear unfavorable for life as we know it, there is compelling geological evidence that the climate of early Mars was much more Earth-like, with a denser atmosphere and abundant surface water. The fact that life developed on the Earth within the first billion years of its history makes it quite plausible that life may have also developed on Mars. If life did develop on Mars, it is likely to have left behind a fossil record. This has led to the development of a new subdiscipline of paleontology, herein termed 'exopaleontology', which deals with the exploration for fossils on other planets. The most important factor enhancing microbial fossilization is the rapid entombment of microorganisms by fine-grained, stable mineral phases, such as silica, phosphate, or carbonate. The oldest body fossils on Earth are preserved in this way, occurring as permineralized cells in fine-grained siliceous sediments (cherts) associated with ancient volcanic terranes in Australia and South Africa. Modern terrestrial environments where minerals may precipitate in the presence of microorganisms include subaerial thermal springs and shallow hydrothermal systems, sub-lacustrine springs and evaporitic alkaline lakes, zones of mineralization within soils where 'hardpans' (e.g. calcretes, silcretes) form, and high latitude frozen soils or ground ice.

  3. First record of Podocarpoid fossil wood in South China.

    PubMed

    Li, Long; Jin, Jian-Hua; Quan, Cheng; Oskolski, Alexei A

    2016-01-01

    A new species of fossil conifer wood, Podocarpoxylon donghuaiense sp. nov., is described from the late Eocene of Nadu Formation in Baise Basin of the Guangxi Province, South China. This fossil wood is characterized by distinct growth rings, circular to oval tracheids in cross section, 1-2-seriate opposite pits on radial tracheid walls, uniseriate (rarely biseriate) rays, smooth end walls of ray parenchyma cells, and the absence of resin ducts, suggesting its affinity to Podocarpaceae. The new species is distinctive from other Cenozoic woods ascribed to this family by the combination of distinctive growth rings, the absence of axial parenchyma, the occurrence of bordered pits on tangential tracheid walls, and the occurrence of 3-4 cuppressoid or taxodioid pits on cross-fields. This represents the first record of podocarpoid fossil wood in South China and provides fossil evidence for the early dispersal and diversification of Podocarpaceae in eastern Asia as well as for mild temperate seasonal climate in this region during the late Eocene. PMID:27571780

  4. An overview of the dinosaur fossil record from Chile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rubilar-Rogers, David; Otero, Rodrigo A.; Yury-Yáñez, Roberto E.; Vargas, Alexander O.; Gutstein, Carolina S.

    2012-08-01

    In Chile, the record of dinosaurs in Jurassic and Cretaceous sediments is often restricted to footprints, with few skeletal remains. Tetanuran theropods are known in the Upper Jurassic, and bones of titanosaur sauropods in the Late Cretaceous, including partial skeletons (e.g. Atacamatitan chilensis Kellner et al.). Also from the late Cretaceous, an ornithopod vertebra, a pair of theropod teeth and one tarsometatarsus of a gaviiform bird (Neogaeornis wetzeli Lambrecht) have been reported. The Cenozoic fossil record comprises abundant and well-preserved marine birds from Eocene and Miocene units, with a specially abundant record of Sphenisciformes and less frequently, Procellariiformes. There is an excellent Miocene-Pliocene record of other birds such as Odontopterygiformes, including the most complete skeleton ever found of a pelagornithid, Pelagornis chilensis Mayr and Rubilar-Rogers. Fossil birds are also known from Pliocene and Pleistocene strata. A remarkable collection of birds was discovered in lacustrine sediments of late Pleistocene age associated to human activity. The perspectives in the study of dinosaurs in Chile are promising because plenty of material stored in institutional collections is not described yet. The record of Chilean dinosaurs is relevant for understanding the dynamics and evolution of this group of terrestrial animals in the western edge of Gondwana, while Cenozoic birds from the Region may contribute to the understanding of current biogeography for instance, the effect of the emergence and establishment of the Humboldt Current.

  5. The hominin fossil record: taxa, grades and clades.

    PubMed

    Wood, Bernard; Lonergan, Nicholas

    2008-04-01

    This paper begins by reviewing the fossil evidence for human evolution. It presents summaries of each of the taxa recognized in a relatively speciose hominin taxonomy. These taxa are grouped in grades, namely possible and probable hominins, archaic hominins, megadont archaic hominins, transitional hominins, pre-modern Homo and anatomically modern Homo. The second part of this contribution considers some of the controversies that surround hominin taxonomy and systematics. The first is the vexed question of how you tell an early hominin from an early panin, or from taxa belonging to an extinct clade closely related to the Pan-Homo clade. Secondly, we consider how many species should be recognized within the hominin fossil record, and review the philosophies and methods used to identify taxa within the hominin fossil record. Thirdly, we examine how relationships within the hominin clade are investigated, including descriptions of the methods used to break down an integrated structure into tractable analytical units, and then how cladograms are generated and compared. We then review the internal structure of the hominin clade, including the problem of how many subclades should be recognized within the hominin clade, and we examine the reliability of hominin cladistic hypotheses. The last part of the paper reviews the concepts of a genus, including the criteria that should be used for recognizing genera within the hominin clade.

  6. The hominin fossil record: taxa, grades and clades

    PubMed Central

    Wood, Bernard; Lonergan, Nicholas

    2008-01-01

    This paper begins by reviewing the fossil evidence for human evolution. It presents summaries of each of the taxa recognized in a relatively speciose hominin taxonomy. These taxa are grouped in grades, namely possible and probable hominins, archaic hominins, megadont archaic hominins, transitional hominins, pre-modern Homo and anatomically modern Homo. The second part of this contribution considers some of the controversies that surround hominin taxonomy and systematics. The first is the vexed question of how you tell an early hominin from an early panin, or from taxa belonging to an extinct clade closely related to the Pan-Homo clade. Secondly, we consider how many species should be recognized within the hominin fossil record, and review the philosophies and methods used to identify taxa within the hominin fossil record. Thirdly, we examine how relationships within the hominin clade are investigated, including descriptions of the methods used to break down an integrated structure into tractable analytical units, and then how cladograms are generated and compared. We then review the internal structure of the hominin clade, including the problem of how many subclades should be recognized within the hominin clade, and we examine the reliability of hominin cladistic hypotheses. The last part of the paper reviews the concepts of a genus, including the criteria that should be used for recognizing genera within the hominin clade. PMID:18380861

  7. The fossil record and macroevolutionary history of the beetles.

    PubMed

    Smith, Dena M; Marcot, Jonathan D

    2015-04-22

    Coleoptera (beetles) is the most species-rich metazoan order, with approximately 380 000 species. To understand how they came to be such a diverse group, we compile a database of global fossil beetle occurrences to study their macroevolutionary history. Our database includes 5553 beetle occurrences from 221 fossil localities. Amber and lacustrine deposits preserve most of the beetle diversity and abundance. All four extant suborders are found in the fossil record, with 69% of all beetle families and 63% of extant beetle families preserved. Considerable focus has been placed on beetle diversification overall, however, for much of their evolutionary history it is the clade Polyphaga that is most responsible for their taxonomic richness. Polyphaga had an increase in diversification rate in the Early Cretaceous, but instead of being due to the radiation of the angiosperms, this was probably due to the first occurrences of beetle-bearing amber deposits in the record. Perhaps, most significant is that polyphagan beetles had a family-level extinction rate of zero for most of their evolutionary history, including across the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary. Therefore, focusing on the factors that have inhibited beetle extinction, as opposed to solely studying mechanisms that may promote speciation, should be examined as important determinants of their great diversity today.

  8. The Quality of the Fossil Record: Populations, Species, and Communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kidwell, Susan M.; Flessa, Karl W.

    Paleontologists have always been concerned about the documentary quality of the fossil record, and this has also become an important issue for biologists, who increasingly look to accumulations of bones, shells, and plant material as possible ways to extend the time-frame of observation on species and community behaviors. Quantitative data on the postmortem behavior of organic remains in modern environments are providing new insights into death and fossil assemblages as sources of biological information. Important findings include: 1. With the exception of a few circumstances, usually recognizable by independent criteria, transport out of the original life habitat affects few individuals. 2. Most species with preservable hard-parts are in fact represented in the local death assemblage, commonly in correct rank importance. Molluscs are the most durable of modern aquatic groups studied so far, and they show highest fidelity to the original community. 3. Time-averaging of remains from successive generations and communities often prevents the detection of short term (seasons, years) variability but provides an excellent record of the natural range of community composition and structure over longer periods. Thus, although a complex array of processes and circumstances influences preservation, death assemblages of resistant skeletal elements are for many major groups good to excellent records of community composition, morphological variation, and environmental and geographic distribution of species, and such assemblages can record dynamics at ecologically and evolutionarily meaningful scales.

  9. Maturation experiments reveal bias in the fossil record of feathers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNamara, Maria; Field, Daniel

    2016-04-01

    The evolutionary history of birds and feathers is a major focus in palaeobiology and evolutionary biology. Diverse exceptionally preserved birds and feathered dinosaurs from Jurassic and Cretaceous biotas in China have provided pivotal evidence of early feathers and feather-like integumentary features, but the true nature of many of these fossil soft tissues is still debated. Interpretations of feathers at intermediate developmental stages (i.e. Stages II, III and IV) and of simple quill-like (Stage I) feathers are particularly controversial. This reflects key uncertainties relating to the preservation potential of feathers at different evolutionary-developmental stages, and to the relative preservation potential of diagnostic features of Stage I feathers and hair. To resolve these issues, we used high pressure-high temperature autoclave experiments to simulate the effects of burial on modern feathers from the Black Coucal (Centropus grilii) and Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), and on human hair. Our results reveal profound differences in the recalcitrance of feathers of different types during maturation: Stage I and Stage V feathers retain diagnostic morphological and ultrastructural details following maturation, whereas other feather types do not. Further, the morphology and arrangement of certain ultrastructural features diagnostic of Stages III and IV, e.g. barbules, are preferentially lost during maturation. These results indicate a pervasive bias in the fossil record of feathers, whereby preservation of feathers at Stages I and V is favored. Critical stages in the evolution of feathers, i.e. Stages II, III and IV, are less likely to be preserved and more likely to be misinterpreted as feathers at earlier developmental stages. Our discovery has major implications for our understanding of the fidelity of the fossil record of feathers and provides a framework for testing the significance of putative examples of fossil feathers at different developmental

  10. Disentangling rock record bias and common-cause from redundancy in the British fossil record.

    PubMed

    Dunhill, Alexander M; Hannisdal, Bjarte; Benton, Michael J

    2014-01-01

    The fossil record documents the history of life, but the reliability of that record has often been questioned. Spatiotemporal variability in sedimentary rock volume, sampling and research effort especially frustrates global-scale diversity reconstructions. Various proposals have been made to rectify palaeodiversity estimates using proxy measures for the availability and sampling of the rock record, but the validity of these approaches remains controversial. Targeting the rich fossil record of Great Britain as a highly detailed regional exemplar, our statistical analysis shows that marine outcrop area contains a signal useful for predicting changes in diversity, collections and formations, whereas terrestrial outcrop area contains a signal useful for predicting formations. In contrast, collection and formation counts are information redundant with fossil richness, characterized by symmetric, bidirectional information flow. If this is true, the widespread use of collection and formation counts as sampling proxies to correct the raw palaeodiversity data may be unwarranted.

  11. At the Origin of Animals: The Revolutionary Cambrian Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Budd, Graham E

    2013-01-01

    The certain fossil record of animals begins around 540 million years ago, close to the base of the Cambrian Period. A series of extraordinary discoveries starting over 100 years ago with Walcott’s discovery of the Burgess Shale has accelerated in the last thirty years or so with the description of exceptionally-preserved Cambrian fossils from around the world. Such deposits of “Burgess Shale Type” have been recently complemented by other types of exceptional preservation. Together with a remarkable growth in knowledge about the environments that these early animals lived in, these discoveries have long exerted a fascination and strong influence on views on the origins of animals, and indeed, the nature of evolution itself. Attention is now shifting to the period of time just before animals become common, at the base of the Cambrian and in the preceding Ediacaran Period. Remarkable though the Burgess Shale deposits have been, a substantial gap still exists in our knowledge of the earliest animals. Nevertheless, the fossils from this most remarkable period of evolutionary history continue to exert a strong influence on many aspects of animal evolution, not least recent theories about developmental evolution. PMID:24396267

  12. New window on Proterozoic life

    PubMed

    Knoll, A H; Butterfield, N J

    1989-02-16

    This article briefly discusses the the new fossil assemblage found in the 600-650-million-year-old shales of the Pertatataka formation in central Australia. It includes about two dozen taxa of spinose, process-bearing or otherwise ornamented acritarchs, many of them extremely large relative to comparably ornamented fossils in younger rocks. These acritarchs reveal a glimpse of early evolution and Proterozoic life.

  13. Aragonite and the fossil record: are we overlooking something?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balthasar, Uwe

    2016-04-01

    Aragonite and calcite are the two most common minerals from which marine organisms secrete their skeletons, yet their potential to preserve in the fossil record is very different. While calcite is generally very stable, aragonite dissolves relatively easily either during diagenesis or even pre-burial. While the complete loss of aragonitic shells is generally acknowledged, the original contribution of aragonite to commonly preserved calcareous fossils is generally overlooked, particularly in groups with no recent representatives. Palaeozoic brachiopods and stromatoporoid sponges, for example, are traditionally considered to have been made of calcite. However, EBSD work on stromatoporoids shows a complex early diagenesis during which the skeletal walls recrystallised first and served as the nucleation surface for the cements infilling the open galleries between the walls. This suggests that the original mineral composition of the skeletal walls had a high diagenetic potential which makes a stable low-magnesium calcite composition unlikely. Equally, the biggest subphylum of brachiopods, Rhynchonelliformea, is traditionally considered to have shells that are exclusively made of low-magnesium calcite. However, a survey of the shell thickness of 176 Ordovician-Silurian brachiopod valves reveals that the calcitic remains of some of the larger shells (particularly of pentamerids) are far too thin with several specimens exhibiting the irregular internal margins typical of dissolution, thus suggesting a bimineralic composition with an outer calcite and an inner aragonite layer. These examples indicate that existing estimates of Phanerozoic aragonite and calcite skeletal mineralogy are not only biased by the complete dissolution of shells, but we probably overestimate the abundance of original calcite composition in the fossil record.

  14. Patterns of generic extinction in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.; Boyajian, G. E.

    1988-01-01

    Analysis of the stratigraphic records of 19,897 fossil genera indicates that most classes and orders show largely congruent rises and falls in extinction intensity throughout the Phanerozoic. Even an ecologically homogeneous sample of reef genera shows the same basic extinction profile. The most likely explanation for the congruence is that extinction is physically rather than biologically driven and that it is dominated by the effects of geographically widespread environmental perturbations influencing most habitats. Significant departures from the congruence are uncommon but important because they indicate physiological or habitat selectivity. The similarity of the extinction records of reef organisms and the marine biota as a whole confirms that reefs and other faunas are responding to the same history of environmental stress.

  15. The Paleogene fossil record of birds in Europe.

    PubMed

    Mayr, Gerald

    2005-11-01

    The Paleogene (Paleocene-Oligocene) fossil record of birds in Europe is reviewed and recent and fossil taxa are placed into a phylogenetic framework, based on published cladistic analyses. The pre-Oligocene European avifauna is characterized by the complete absence of passeriform birds, which today are the most diverse and abundant avian taxon. Representatives of small non-passeriform perching birds thus probably had similar ecological niches before the Oligocene to those filled by modern passerines. The occurrence of passerines towards the Lower Oligocene appears to have had a major impact on these birds, and the surviving crown-group members of many small arboreal Eocene taxa show highly specialized feeding strategies not found or rare in passeriform birds. It is detailed that no crown-group members of modern 'families' are known from pre-Oligocene deposits of Europe, or anywhere else. The phylogenetic position of Paleogene birds thus indicates that diversification of the crown-groups of modern avian 'families' did not take place before the Oligocene, irrespective of their relative position within Neornithes (crown-group birds). The Paleogene fossil record of birds does not even support crown-group diversification of Galliformes, one of the most basal taxa of neognathous birds, before the Oligocene, and recent molecular studies that dated diversification of galliform crown-group taxa into the Middle Cretaceous are shown to be based on an incorrect interpretation of the fossil taxa used for molecular clock calibrations. Several taxa that occur in the Paleogene of Europe have a very different distribution than their closest extant relatives. The modern survivors of these Paleogene lineages are not evenly distributed over the continents, and especially the great number of taxa that are today restricted to South and Central America is noteworthy. The occurrence of stem-lineage representatives of many taxa that today have a restricted Southern Hemisphere distribution

  16. The fossil record of evolution: Data on diversification and extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J., Jr.

    1991-01-01

    Understanding of the evolution of complex life, and of the roles that changing terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments played in life's history, is dependent upon synthetic knowledge of the fossil record. Paleontologists have been describing fossils for more that two centuries. However, much of this information is dispersed in monographs and journal articles published throughout the world. Over the past several years, this literature was surveyed, and a data base on times of origination and extinction of fossil genera was compiled. The data base, which now holds approximately 32,000 genera, covers all taxonomic groups of marine animals, incorporates the most recent taxonomic assignments, and uses a detailed global time framework that can resolve originations and extinctions to intervals averaging three million years in duration. These data can be used to compile patterns of global biodiversity, measure rates of taxic evolution, and test hypotheses concerning adaptive radiations, mass extinctions, etc. Thus far, considerable effort was devoted to using the data to test the hypothesis of periodicity of mass extinction. Rates of extinction measured from the data base have also been used to calibrate models of evolutionary radiations in marine environments. It was observed that new groups, or clades of animals (i.e., orders and classes) tend to reach appreciable diversity first in nearshore environments and then to radiate in more offshore environments; during decline, these clades may disappear from the nearshore while persisting in offshore, deep water habitats. These observations have led to suggestions that there is something special about stressful or perturbed environments that promotes the evolution of novel kinds of animals that can rapidly replace their predecessors. The numerical model that is being investigated to study this phenomenon treats environments along onshore-offshore gradients as if they were discrete habitats. Other aspects of this

  17. The fossil record of evolution: Data on diversification and extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J., Jr.

    1986-01-01

    Synoptic studies of the fossil record of complex life on Earth indicate increasingly that extinction, and especially mass extinction, were extremely important driving forces in the history of life. Analysis of a new compilation of geologic ranges for 25,000 genera of marine animals suggests that extinction events were much more frequent in occurrence and variable in magnitude than previously suspected. At least 30 well documented and potential mass extinctions were identified in the dataset. The most recent event, distributed over 260 to 0 ma. exhibit a stationary periodicity of 26.1 + or - 1 ma, implicating a cosmological forcing mechanism. Earlier events, especially in the 575 to 450 ma interval, are more frequent, possibly indicating either a breakdown of periodicity in the more distant past; and as yet undemonstrated diminution of the period length; or frequent aperiodic terrestrial perturbations of a less stable biota superimposed upon the cosmological periodicity.

  18. Extinction, diversity and survivorship of taxa in the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Newman, M. E. J.; Sibani, P.

    1999-01-01

    Using data drawn from large-scale databases, a number of interesting trends in the fossil record have been observed in recent years. These include the average decline in extinction rates throughout the Phanerozoic, the average increase in standing diversity, correlations between rates of origination and extinction, and simple laws governing the form of survivorship curves and the distribution of the lifetimes of taxa. In this paper we derive a number of mathematical relationships between these quantities and show how these different trends are interrelated. We also derive a variety of constraints on the possible forms of these trends, such as limits on the rate at which extinction may decline and limits on the allowed difference between extinction and origination rates at any given time.

  19. Cyclicity in the fossil record mirrors rock outcrop area

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Andrew B; McGowan, Alistair J

    2005-01-01

    In a recent article, Rohde & Muller (Rohde & Muller 2005 Nature 434, 208–210) identified a strong 62 Myr cyclicity in the history of marine diversity through the Phanerozoic. The data they presented were highly convincing, yet they were unable to explain what process might have generated this pattern. A significant correlation between observed genus-level diversity (after removal of long-term trends) and the amount of marine sedimentary rock measured at a surface outcrop in Western Europe is demonstrated. This suggests that cyclicity originates from long-term changes in sedimentary depositional and erosional regimes, and raises the strong possibility that the cyclicity apparent in the record of marine fossils is not a biological signal but a sampling signal. PMID:17148228

  20. Stratigraphic records of paleogeography and global change from two late Proterozoic basins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Swanson-Hysell, Nicholas L.

    As sediments and volcanic deposits accumulate on Earth's surface, they record information about Earth's climate, the motion of continents, and the evolution of the biosphere. Through the study of ancient stratigraphic sequences, we can gain a window into our planet's varied, and sometimes tumultuous, past. In this dissertation, I employ a combination of field observations, magnetic data, and chemostratigraphic data in the Keweenawan Mid-continent Rift of North America and the Amadeus Basin of Central Australia to study the paleogeography and paleoclimate during and after the transition between the Mesoproterozoic (1.7 to 1.0 billion-years ago) and Neoproterozoic Eras (1.0 to 0.54 billion-years ago). The supercontinent Rodinia formed at the boundary between the Eras and broke apart throughout the Neoproterozoic. Basins that developed as Rodinia rifted apart record large changes in the biogeochemical cycling of carbon and sulfur, the waxing and waning of low-latitude ice sheets, and the progressive oxygenation of the atmosphere that facilitated the evolution of animals. I report high-resolution paleomagnetic data in stratigraphic context from Mamainse Point, Ontario---the most complete succession in the 1.1 billion-year-old Mid-continent Rift. The results demonstrate that previous suggestions of large non-dipolar geomagnetic field components at the time stemmed from low temporal resolution across geomagnetic reversals during a period of rapid plate motion. This result strengthens the framework for evaluating records of tectonics and climate across the Mesoproterozoic/Neoproterozoic boundary. Rock magnetic experiments on Mamainse Point lavas, paired with electron microscopy, demonstrate that a component of the magnetization in oxidized flows that is antiparallel to the characteristic remanence is a result of martite self-reversal. This component is the best resolved natural example of the experimentally observed self-reversal that accompanies the maghemite to hematite

  1. Frequency of Proterozoic geomagnetic superchrons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Driscoll, Peter E.; Evans, David A. D.

    2016-03-01

    Long-term geodynamo evolution is expected to respond to inner core growth and changing patterns of mantle convection. Three geomagnetic superchrons, during which Earth's magnetic field maintained a near-constant polarity state through tens of Myr, are known from the bio/magnetostratigraphic record of Phanerozoic time, perhaps timed according to supercontinental episodicity. Some geodynamo simulations incorporating a much smaller inner core, as would have characterized Proterozoic time, produce field reversals at a much lower rate. Here we compile polarity ratios of site means within a quality-filtered global Proterozoic paleomagnetic database, according to recent plate kinematic models. Various smoothing parameters, optimized to successfully identify the known Phanerozoic superchrons, indicate 3-10 possible Proterozoic superchrons during the 1300 Myr interval studied. Proterozoic geodynamo evolution thus appears to indicate a relatively narrow range of reversal behavior through the last two billion years, implying either remarkable stability of core dynamics over this time or insensitivity of reversal rate to core evolution.

  2. Cell symbioisis theory: Status and implications for the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Margulis, L.; Stolz, J. F.

    Although the entire serial endosymbiotic theory has not been proven much progress has been made and the nature of the remaining critical observations can be now identified. There is little doubt that, regardless of the precise details, prokaryotes are single genomic systems and all eukaryotic cells are multigenomic ones. Eukaryotic cells are therefore best thought of as co-evolved microbial communities, entities that emerged as the symbiotic partnerships became tightly integrated by the late Late Proterozoic Aeon. Present address: Control and Energy Conversion Division, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, U.S.A.

  3. NGST: Exploring the Fossil Record of Galaxy Formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rich, R. Michael

    1998-01-01

    During this grant period the investigator has accomplished the following: developed and researched the science case for high resolution optical imaging with NGST (Next Generation Space Telescope); presented to the ASWG (Ad-Hoc Science Working Group) on the use of NGST to image and measure the proper motions of white dwarf stars that could account for the MACHO events toward the LMC (Large Magellanic Cloud); wrote proposals for the Design Reference Mission. Three proposals have been written on the following topics: Measuring the faint end of the white dwarf luminosity function to get an independent measure of the age of the oldest stars, measurement of the stellar luminosity function over the full range of age, abundance, and population type, and deep imaging of Local Group halos to measure the relative ages of the oldest stars in the Milky Way and other galaxies; he has introduced simulations of crowded field stellar photometry on a hypothetical population in the M31 halo. Using a physically correct luminosity function and a surface brightness of 24.5 mag/sq. arcsec, NGST imaging in 10 hours easily measures the turnoff and reaches 3 mags down the main sequence in the halo of M31; and has delivered talks at the NGST workshop in Liege, and at the meeting in Paris entitled "Connecting the Distant Universe with the Local Fossil Record".

  4. Dynamics of origination and extinction in the marine fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Alroy, John

    2008-01-01

    The discipline-wide effort to database the fossil record at the occurrence level has made it possible to estimate marine invertebrate extinction and origination rates with much greater accuracy. The new data show that two biotic mechanisms have hastened recoveries from mass extinctions and confined diversity to a relatively narrow range over the past 500 million years (Myr). First, a drop in diversity of any size correlates with low extinction rates immediately afterward, so much so that extinction would almost come to a halt if diversity dropped by 90%. Second, very high extinction rates are followed by equally high origination rates. The two relationships predict that the rebound from the current mass extinction will take at least 10 Myr, and perhaps 40 Myr if it rivals the Permo-Triassic catastrophe. Regardless, any large event will result in a dramatic ecological and taxonomic restructuring of the biosphere. The data also confirm that extinction and origination rates both declined through the Phanerozoic and that several extinctions in addition to the Permo-Triassic event were particularly severe. However, the trend may be driven by taxonomic biases and the rates vary in accord with a simple log normal distribution, so there is no sharp distinction between background and mass extinctions. Furthermore, the lack of any significant autocorrelation in the data is inconsistent with macroevolutionary theories of periodicity or self-organized criticality. PMID:18695240

  5. Micritic Peloids: Fossil Record of Biofilms Associated With Methane Seeps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shapiro, R. S.

    2006-12-01

    Biofilms of archaea and bacteria are found where reduced hydrocarbons seep upward to the seafloor. The process of oxidizing the methane coupled with the reduction of seawater sulfate increases the alkalinity in the localized area and promotes the precipitation of carbonate minerals. The biofilms and carbonate deposits are ubiquitous in the modern oceans and the geologic record of hydrocarbon seeps goes back well into the Paleozoic. However, the paleontologic record of the microbes responsible for the production of the carbonates is poorly constrained. The few examples comprise casts and molds of filaments and cocci, framboidal pyrite of assumed biological affinity, organic biomarkers (lipids, hopanoids), and microbialite. Volumetrically, these fossils are insignificant compared with the total bulk of seep carbonate. Research into Mesozoic and Cenozoic seep carbonates from California, Oregon, Colorado, and South Dakota has yielded a new recognition for ancient biofilms. Micrite—the most common lithotype of seeps globally—exists as both peloids and groundmass. Common peloids of micrite average 0.5 mm in diameter (range from 0.1 to 0.7 mm), incorporate some siliciclastic material, and have distinct margins. Opaque minerals, likely sulfides, occur throughout the peloids. The matrix surrounding the peloids is a similar micrite, though in some samples, the peloids are surrounded by cement. Diagenesis leads to blurring of the peloid margins until a homogenous micrite groundmass with scattered sulfide and siliciclastic grains results. Use of a white card helps to outline original peloids. Increased levels of diagenesis can lead to crystal coarsening and obliterate original textures. These peloids are likely fecal pellets. A second population of peloids occur that are smaller (0.05 to 0.10 mm), darker in color, and with more diffuse boundaries. There are generally no siliciclastic grains intermixed with these peloids. These peloids occur in millimeter-scale clusters and

  6. Integrated approaches to terminal Proterozoic stratigraphy: an example from the Olenek Uplift, northeastern Siberia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Kaufman, A. J.; Kolosov, P.

    1995-01-01

    In the Olenek Uplift of northeastern Siberia, the Khorbusuonka Group and overlying Kessyusa and Erkeket formations preserve a significant record of terminal Proterozoic and basal Cambrian Earth history. A composite section more than 350 m thick is reconstructed from numerous exposures along the Khorbusuonka River. The Khorbusuonka Group comprises three principal sedimentary sequences: peritidal dolomites of the Mastakh Formation, which are bounded above and below by red beds; the Khatyspyt and most of the overlying Turkut formations, which shallow upward from relatively deep-water carbonaceous micrites to cross-bedded dolomitic grainstones and stromatolites; and a thin upper Turkut sequence bounded by karst surfaces. The overlying Kessyusa Formation is bounded above and below by erosional surfaces and contains additional parasequence boundaries internally. Ediacaran metazoans, simple trace fossils, and vendotaenids occur in the Khatyspyt Formation; small shelly fossils, more complex trace fossils, and acritarchs all appear near the base of the Kessyusa Formation and diversify upward. The carbon-isotopic composition of carbonates varies stratigraphically in a pattern comparable to that determined for other terminal Proterozoic and basal Cambrian successions. In concert, litho-, bio-, and chemostratigraphic data indicate the importance of the Khorbusuonka Group in the global correlation of terminal Proterozoic sedimentary rocks. Stratigraphic data and a recently determined radiometric date on basal Kessyusa volcanic breccias further underscore the significance of the Olenek region in investigations of the Proterozoic-cambrian boundary.

  7. Integrated approaches to terminal Proterozoic stratigraphy: an example from the Olenek Uplift, northeastern Siberia.

    PubMed

    Knoll, A H; Grotzinger, J P; Kaufman, A J; Kolosov, P

    1995-01-01

    In the Olenek Uplift of northeastern Siberia, the Khorbusuonka Group and overlying Kessyusa and Erkeket formations preserve a significant record of terminal Proterozoic and basal Cambrian Earth history. A composite section more than 350 m thick is reconstructed from numerous exposures along the Khorbusuonka River. The Khorbusuonka Group comprises three principal sedimentary sequences: peritidal dolomites of the Mastakh Formation, which are bounded above and below by red beds; the Khatyspyt and most of the overlying Turkut formations, which shallow upward from relatively deep-water carbonaceous micrites to cross-bedded dolomitic grainstones and stromatolites; and a thin upper Turkut sequence bounded by karst surfaces. The overlying Kessyusa Formation is bounded above and below by erosional surfaces and contains additional parasequence boundaries internally. Ediacaran metazoans, simple trace fossils, and vendotaenids occur in the Khatyspyt Formation; small shelly fossils, more complex trace fossils, and acritarchs all appear near the base of the Kessyusa Formation and diversify upward. The carbon-isotopic composition of carbonates varies stratigraphically in a pattern comparable to that determined for other terminal Proterozoic and basal Cambrian successions. In concert, litho-, bio-, and chemostratigraphic data indicate the importance of the Khorbusuonka Group in the global correlation of terminal Proterozoic sedimentary rocks. Stratigraphic data and a recently determined radiometric date on basal Kessyusa volcanic breccias further underscore the significance of the Olenek region in investigations of the Proterozoic-cambrian boundary.

  8. The fossil record and evolution: comparing cladistic and paleontologic evidence for vertebrate history.

    PubMed

    Norell, M A; Novacek, M J

    1992-03-27

    The fossil record offers the only direct evidence of extinct life and thus has figured prominently in considerations of evolutionary patterns. But the incomplete nature of the fossil record has also been emphasized in arguments that fossils play only a secondary role in the recovery of phylogenetic histories based on extant taxa. Although these criticisms recently have been countered, there is no general understanding of the correspondence between the fossil record and phylogeny. An empirical survey of recently published studies suggests no basis for assuming that the stratigraphic occurrence of fossils always provides a precise reflection of phylogeny. Nevertheless, our survey of a sample of taxa shows a tendency for positive correlation between age and clade rank and, hence, a degree of correspondence between phylogenetic pattern and the paleontologic record.

  9. A NEW CHROOCOCCACEAN ALGA FROM THE PROTEROZOIC OF QUEENSLAND

    PubMed Central

    Licari, Gerald R.; Cloud, Preston E.; Smith, W. D.

    1969-01-01

    Nannofossils§ here described are from the middle Proterozoic Paradise Creek Formation, along Paradise Creek in northwestern Queensland, Australia. These fossils, in chert blebs associated with branched stromatolites, comprise cubic colonies analogous to living Eucapsis, a member of the blue-green algal family Chroococcaceae. The age of the enclosing rocks, bracketed by the ages of older and younger granitic events, is about 1.6 × 109 years. We record, therefore, a new chronological and biological datum in the currently accumulating sequence of pre-Paleozoic microbiotas. Images PMID:16591730

  10. Evidence for low sulphate and anoxia in a mid-Proterozoic marine basin.

    PubMed

    Shen, Yanan; Knoll, Andrew H; Walter, Malcolm R

    2003-06-01

    Many independent lines of evidence document a large increase in the Earth's surface oxidation state 2,400 to 2,200 million years ago, and a second biospheric oxygenation 800 to 580 million years ago, just before large animals appear in the fossil record. Such a two-staged oxidation implies a unique ocean chemistry for much of the Proterozoic eon, which would have been neither completely anoxic and iron-rich as hypothesized for Archaean seas, nor fully oxic as supposed for most of the Phanerozoic eon. The redox chemistry of Proterozoic oceans has important implications for evolution, but empirical constraints on competing environmental models are scarce. Here we present an analysis of the iron chemistry of shales deposited in the marine Roper Basin, Australia, between about 1,500 and 1,400 million years ago, which record deep-water anoxia beneath oxidized surface water. The sulphur isotopic compositions of pyrites in the shales show strong variations along a palaeodepth gradient, indicating low sulphate concentrations in mid-Proterozoic oceans. Our data help to integrate a growing body of evidence favouring a long-lived intermediate state of the oceans, generated by the early Proterozoic oxygen revolution and terminated by the environmental transformation late in the Proterozoic eon. PMID:12789336

  11. Evidence for low sulphate and anoxia in a mid-Proterozoic marine basin.

    PubMed

    Shen, Yanan; Knoll, Andrew H; Walter, Malcolm R

    2003-06-01

    Many independent lines of evidence document a large increase in the Earth's surface oxidation state 2,400 to 2,200 million years ago, and a second biospheric oxygenation 800 to 580 million years ago, just before large animals appear in the fossil record. Such a two-staged oxidation implies a unique ocean chemistry for much of the Proterozoic eon, which would have been neither completely anoxic and iron-rich as hypothesized for Archaean seas, nor fully oxic as supposed for most of the Phanerozoic eon. The redox chemistry of Proterozoic oceans has important implications for evolution, but empirical constraints on competing environmental models are scarce. Here we present an analysis of the iron chemistry of shales deposited in the marine Roper Basin, Australia, between about 1,500 and 1,400 million years ago, which record deep-water anoxia beneath oxidized surface water. The sulphur isotopic compositions of pyrites in the shales show strong variations along a palaeodepth gradient, indicating low sulphate concentrations in mid-Proterozoic oceans. Our data help to integrate a growing body of evidence favouring a long-lived intermediate state of the oceans, generated by the early Proterozoic oxygen revolution and terminated by the environmental transformation late in the Proterozoic eon.

  12. The environmental distribution of late proterozoic organisms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.

    1991-01-01

    Along present day coast lines, the environmental distributions of prokaryotic and protistan populations are often sharply delimited. Realized habitat ranges are generally narrower than those circumscribed by physiological tolerances, suggesting the importance of organism-organism interactions in the determination of population distributions. Microfossil populations preserved in silicified carbonates, dolomites, and shales of the 700-800 Ma old Akademikerbreen Group, Svalbard, and elsewhere indicate that the environmental distributions were defined equally clearly during the Proterozoic Eon. The Draken Conglomerate Formation is a tidal flat/lagoonal complex in which we have distinguished five principle biofacies containing a total of 42 taxa. Supratidal to subtidal gradients include the increasing abundance and diversity of both mat dweller microbenthos and allochthonous (principally planktonic) organisms, as well as a taphonomically important pattern of decreasing sheath thickness among mat builder microorganisms. The seaward barriers of Akademikerbreen lagoons were oolitic shoals, and these contain about a dozen endolithic and epilithic species not observed elsewhere in the group. Subtidal environments below fair weather wave base are represented by mudstones of the Svanbergfjellet Formation. These contain abundant and diverse cyanobacteria-like fossils generally similar to but specifically different from those found in tidal flat sediments, as well as diverse unicellular protists (some of impressive morphological complexity) and at least half a dozen cellularly preserved metaphyte populations. In all, more than 80 species are distributed among Akademikerbreen lithologies. Fossil assemblages from Svalbard and elsewhere illustrate the potential for a much finer paleoecological, biostratigraphic, and, hence, evolutionary resolution of the early fossil record.

  13. The late Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record of eastern Asia: synthesis and review.

    PubMed

    Bae, Christopher J

    2010-01-01

    Traditionally, Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils that cannot be allocated to Homo erectus sensu lato or modern H. sapiens have been assigned to different specific taxa. For example, in eastern Asia, these hominin fossils have been classified as archaic, early, or premodern H. sapiens. An increasing number of Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils are currently being assigned to H. heidelbergensis. This is particularly the case for the African and European Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record. There have been suggestions that perhaps the eastern Asian late Middle Pleistocene hominins can also be allocated to the H. heidelbergensis hypodigm. In this article, I review the current state of the late Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record from eastern Asia and examine the various arguments for assigning these hominins to the different specific taxa. The two primary conclusions drawn from this review are as follows: 1) little evidence currently exists in the eastern Asian Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record to support their assignment to H. heidelbergensis; and 2) rather than add to the growing list of hominin fossil taxa by using taxonomic names like H. daliensis for northeast Asian fossils and H. mabaensis for Southeast Asian fossils, it is better to err on the side of caution and continue to use the term archaic H. sapiens to represent all of these hominin fossils. What should be evident from this review is the need for an increase in the quality and quantity of the eastern Asian hominin fossil data set. Fortunately, with the increasing number of large-scale multidisciplinary paleoanthropological field and laboratory research projects in eastern Asia, the record is quickly becoming better understood.

  14. 'Citizen science' recording of fossils by adapting existing computer-based biodiversity recording tools

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGowan, Alistair

    2014-05-01

    Biodiversity recording activities have been greatly enhanced by the emergence of online schemes and smartphone applications for recording and sharing data about a wide variety of flora and fauna. As a palaeobiologist, one of the areas of research I have been heavily involved in is the question of whether the amount of rock available to sample acts as a bias on our estimates of biodiversity through time. Although great progress has been made on this question over the past ten years by a number of researchers, I still think palaeontology has not followed the lead offered by the 'citizen science' revolution in studies of extant biodiversity. By constructing clearly structured surveys with online data collection support, it should be possible to collect field data on the occurrence of fossils at the scale of individual exposures, which are needed to test competing hypotheses about these effects at relatively small spatial scales. Such data collection would be hard to justify for universities and museums with limited personnel but a co-ordinated citizen science programme would be capable of delivering such a programme. Data collection could be based on the MacKinnon's Lists method, used in rapid conservation assessment work. It relies on observers collecting lists of a fixed length (e.g. 10 species long) but what is important is that it focuses on getting observers to ignore sightings of the same species until that list is complete. This overcomes the problem of 'common taxa being commonly recorded' and encourages observers to seek out and identify the rarer taxa. This gives a targeted but finite task. Rather than removing fossils, participants would be encouraged to take photographs to share via a recording website. The success of iSpot, which allows users to upload photos of plants and animals for other users to help with identifications, offers a model for overcoming the problems of identifying fossils, which can often look nothing like the examples illustrated in

  15. New Palaeogene horntail wasps (Hymenoptera, Siricidae) and a discussion of their fossil record.

    PubMed

    Wedmann, Sonja; Pouillon, Jean-Marc; Nel, André

    2014-09-29

    The phylogenetic placement of siricid hymenopterans and especially the relationships among Siricidae are not resolved, and are in need of further investigation. The fossil record helps to illuminate the evolutionary history of this group. In this paper, Xoanon? eocenicus sp. nov. is newly described from the Eocene Fossillagerstätte Grube Messel (Germany). Although several characters of the wing venation of this fossil are similar to the extant genus Xoanon, there remain some doubts concerning the generic placement. A newly found fossil is attributed to Urocerus ligniticus (Piton, 1940) from the Paloecene Fossillagerstätte Menat (France) and provides more morphological information on this species. An overview of the fossil record of Siricidae in the strict sense is given and the state of knowledge on the different fossils is reviewed.

  16. Integrating developmental biology and the fossil record of reptiles.

    PubMed

    Skawiński, Tomasz; Tałanda, Mateusz

    2014-01-01

    Numerous new discoveries and new research techniques have influenced our understanding of reptile development from a palaeontological perspective. They suggest for example that transition from mineralized to leathery eggshells and from oviparity to viviparity appeared much more often in the evolution of reptiles than was previously thought. Most marine reptiles evolved from viviparous terrestrial ancestors and had probably genetic sex determination. Fossil forms often display developmental traits absent or rare among modern ones such as polydactyly, hyperphalangy, the presence of ribcage armour, reduction of head ornamentation during ontogeny, extreme modifications of vertebral count or a wide range of feather-like structures. Thus, they provide an empirical background for many morphogenetic considerations.

  17. Contemporaneous trace and body fossils from a late Pleistocene Lakebed in Victoria, Australia, allow assessment of bias in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Camens, Aaron Bruce; Carey, Stephen Paul

    2013-01-01

    The co-occurrence of vertebrate trace and body fossils within a single geological formation is rare and the probability of these parallel records being contemporaneous (i.e. on or near the same bedding plane) is extremely low. We report here a late Pleistocene locality from the Victorian Volcanic Plains in south-eastern Australia in which demonstrably contemporaneous, but independently accumulated vertebrate trace and body fossils occur. Bite marks from a variety of taxa are also present on the bones. This site provides a unique opportunity to examine the biases of these divergent fossil records (skeletal, footprints and bite marks) that sampled a single fauna. The skeletal record produced the most complete fauna, with the footprint record indicating a markedly different faunal composition with less diversity and the feeding traces suggesting the presence, amongst others, of a predator not represented by either the skeletal or footprint records. We found that the large extinct marsupial predator Thylacoleo was the only taxon apparently represented by all three records, suggesting that the behavioral characteristics of large carnivores may increase the likelihood of their presence being detected within a fossil fauna. In contrast, Diprotodon (the largest-ever marsupial) was represented only by trace fossils at this site and was absent from the site's skeletal record, despite its being a common and easily detected presence in late Pleistocene skeletal fossil faunas elsewhere in Australia. Small mammals absent from the footprint record for the site were represented by skeletal fossils and bite marks on bones.

  18. Contemporaneous Trace and Body Fossils from a Late Pleistocene Lakebed in Victoria, Australia, Allow Assessment of Bias in the Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Camens, Aaron Bruce; Carey, Stephen Paul

    2013-01-01

    The co-occurrence of vertebrate trace and body fossils within a single geological formation is rare and the probability of these parallel records being contemporaneous (i.e. on or near the same bedding plane) is extremely low. We report here a late Pleistocene locality from the Victorian Volcanic Plains in south-eastern Australia in which demonstrably contemporaneous, but independently accumulated vertebrate trace and body fossils occur. Bite marks from a variety of taxa are also present on the bones. This site provides a unique opportunity to examine the biases of these divergent fossil records (skeletal, footprints and bite marks) that sampled a single fauna. The skeletal record produced the most complete fauna, with the footprint record indicating a markedly different faunal composition with less diversity and the feeding traces suggesting the presence, amongst others, of a predator not represented by either the skeletal or footprint records. We found that the large extinct marsupial predator Thylacoleo was the only taxon apparently represented by all three records, suggesting that the behavioral characteristics of large carnivores may increase the likelihood of their presence being detected within a fossil fauna. In contrast, Diprotodon (the largest-ever marsupial) was represented only by trace fossils at this site and was absent from the site's skeletal record, despite its being a common and easily detected presence in late Pleistocene skeletal fossil faunas elsewhere in Australia. Small mammals absent from the footprint record for the site were represented by skeletal fossils and bite marks on bones. PMID:23301008

  19. Crustaceans from bitumen clast in Carboniferous glacial diamictite extend fossil record of copepods.

    PubMed

    Selden, Paul A; Huys, Rony; Stephenson, Michael H; Heward, Alan P; Taylor, Paul N

    2010-08-10

    Copepod crustaceans are extremely abundant but, because of their small size and fragility, they fossilize poorly. Their fossil record consists of one Cretaceous (c. 115 Ma) parasite and a few Miocene (c. 14 Ma) fossils. In this paper, we describe abundant crustacean fragments, including copepods, from a single bitumen clast in a glacial diamictite of late Carboniferous age (c. 303 Ma) from eastern Oman. Geochemistry identifies the source of the bitumen as an oilfield some 100-300 km to the southwest, which is consistent with an ice flow direction from glacial striae. The bitumen likely originated as an oil seep into a subglacial lake. This find extends the fossil record of copepods by some 188 Ma, and of free-living forms by 289 Ma. The copepods include evidence of the extant family Canthocamptidae, believed to have colonized fresh water in Pangaea during Carboniferous times.

  20. Gaps in the Rock and Fossil Records and Implications for the Rate and Mode of Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Smith, Grant Sackett

    1988-01-01

    Examines three types of gaps in the fossil record: real gaps, imaginary gaps, and temporary gaps. Reviews some recent evidence concerning evolution from the paleontological record of microfossils, invertebrates, and vertebrates in order to make some general conclusions regarding the manner in which life evolved on earth. (CW)

  1. Assessing the fidelity of the fossil record by using marine bivalves

    PubMed Central

    Valentine, James W.; Jablonski, David; Kidwell, Susan; Roy, Kaustuv

    2006-01-01

    Taxa that fail to become incorporated into the fossil record can reveal much about the biases of this record and provide the information needed to correct such biases in empirical analyses of the history of life. Yet little is known about the characteristics of taxa missing from the fossil record. For the marine Bivalvia, which have become a model system for macroevolutionary and macroecological analysis in the fossil record, 308 of the 1,292 living genera and subgenera (herein termed “taxa”) are not recorded as fossils. These missing taxa are not a random sample of the clade, but instead tend to have small body size, reactive shell structures, commensal or parasitic habit, deep-sea distribution, narrow geographic range, restriction to regions exposing few Neogene marine sediments, or recent date of formal taxonomic description in the neontological literature. Most missing taxa show two or more of these features and tend to be concentrated in particular families. When we exclude the smallest taxa (<1 cm) and deep-sea endemics, date of published description and geographic range become the strongest predictors of the missing taxa; other factors are statistically insignificant or have relatively small effects. These biases might influence a variety of analyses including the use of fossil data in support of phylogenetic analyses, molecular clock calibrations, and analyses of spatial and temporal dynamics of clades and biotas. Clade inventories such as these can be used to develop protocols that minimize the biases imposed by sampling and preservation. PMID:16617108

  2. Discriminating signal from noise in the fossil record of early vertebrates reveals cryptic evolutionary history.

    PubMed

    Sansom, Robert S; Randle, Emma; Donoghue, Philip C J

    2015-02-01

    The fossil record of early vertebrates has been influential in elucidating the evolutionary assembly of the gnathostome bodyplan. Understanding of the timing and tempo of vertebrate innovations remains, however, mired in a literal reading of the fossil record. Early jawless vertebrates (ostracoderms) exhibit restriction to shallow-water environments. The distribution of their stratigraphic occurrences therefore reflects not only flux in diversity, but also secular variation in facies representation of the rock record. Using stratigraphic, phylogenetic and palaeoenvironmental data, we assessed the veracity of the fossil records of the jawless relatives of jawed vertebrates (Osteostraci, Galeaspida, Thelodonti, Heterostraci). Non-random models of fossil recovery potential using Palaeozoic sea-level changes were used to calculate confidence intervals of clade origins. These intervals extend the timescale for possible origins into the Upper Ordovician; these estimates ameliorate the long ghost lineages inferred for Osteostraci, Galeaspida and Heterostraci, given their known stratigraphic occurrences and stem-gnathostome phylogeny. Diversity changes through the Silurian and Devonian were found to lie within the expected limits predicted from estimates of fossil record quality indicating that it is geological, rather than biological factors, that are responsible for shifts in diversity. Environmental restriction also appears to belie ostracoderm extinction and demise rather than competition with jawed vertebrates.

  3. Discriminating signal from noise in the fossil record of early vertebrates reveals cryptic evolutionary history

    PubMed Central

    Sansom, Robert S.; Randle, Emma; Donoghue, Philip C. J.

    2015-01-01

    The fossil record of early vertebrates has been influential in elucidating the evolutionary assembly of the gnathostome bodyplan. Understanding of the timing and tempo of vertebrate innovations remains, however, mired in a literal reading of the fossil record. Early jawless vertebrates (ostracoderms) exhibit restriction to shallow-water environments. The distribution of their stratigraphic occurrences therefore reflects not only flux in diversity, but also secular variation in facies representation of the rock record. Using stratigraphic, phylogenetic and palaeoenvironmental data, we assessed the veracity of the fossil records of the jawless relatives of jawed vertebrates (Osteostraci, Galeaspida, Thelodonti, Heterostraci). Non-random models of fossil recovery potential using Palaeozoic sea-level changes were used to calculate confidence intervals of clade origins. These intervals extend the timescale for possible origins into the Upper Ordovician; these estimates ameliorate the long ghost lineages inferred for Osteostraci, Galeaspida and Heterostraci, given their known stratigraphic occurrences and stem–gnathostome phylogeny. Diversity changes through the Silurian and Devonian were found to lie within the expected limits predicted from estimates of fossil record quality indicating that it is geological, rather than biological factors, that are responsible for shifts in diversity. Environmental restriction also appears to belie ostracoderm extinction and demise rather than competition with jawed vertebrates. PMID:25520359

  4. Methods for the quantitative comparison of molecular estimates of clade age and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Clarke, Julia A; Boyd, Clint A

    2015-01-01

    Approaches quantifying the relative congruence, or incongruence, of molecular divergence estimates and the fossil record have been limited. Previously proposed methods are largely node specific, assessing incongruence at particular nodes for which both fossil data and molecular divergence estimates are available. These existing metrics, and other methods that quantify incongruence across topologies including entirely extinct clades, have so far not taken into account uncertainty surrounding both the divergence estimates and the ages of fossils. They have also treated molecular divergence estimates younger than previously assessed fossil minimum estimates of clade age as if they were the same as cases in which they were older. However, these cases are not the same. Recovered divergence dates younger than compared oldest known occurrences require prior hypotheses regarding the phylogenetic position of the compared fossil record and standard assumptions about the relative timing of morphological and molecular change to be incorrect. Older molecular dates, by contrast, are consistent with an incomplete fossil record and do not require prior assessments of the fossil record to be unreliable in some way. Here, we compare previous approaches and introduce two new descriptive metrics. Both metrics explicitly incorporate information on uncertainty by utilizing the 95% confidence intervals on estimated divergence dates and data on stratigraphic uncertainty concerning the age of the compared fossils. Metric scores are maximized when these ranges are overlapping. MDI (minimum divergence incongruence) discriminates between situations where molecular estimates are younger or older than known fossils reporting both absolute fit values and a number score for incompatible nodes. DIG range (divergence implied gap range) allows quantification of the minimum increase in implied missing fossil record induced by enforcing a given set of molecular-based estimates. These metrics are used

  5. The fossil record of evolution: Analysis of extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1986-01-01

    There is increasing evidence that events in space have had direct effects on Earth history and on the history of life on Earth. Nowhere is this more evident than in mass extinction. The biosphere has undergone repeated devastation caused by relatively short-lived environmental stress, with species kill rates up to 80 and 95%. For five of the mass extinctions, geochemical or other evidence was reported suggesting large body impact as the cause of the environmental stress producing the extinctions. It was argued on statistical ground that the major extinction events are uniformly periodic in geological time. If it is true that large body impact is a principal cause of mass extinctions and if the periodicity is real, than a cosmic driving mechanism is inescapable. Paleontological data sets were developed which detail the ranges in geological time of about 4,000 families and 25,000 genera of fossil marine organisms. Analyses to date have concentrated on the most recent 250 million years. Associated with these studies are analyses of other aspects of Earth history which may have signatures indicative of extraterrestrial effects.

  6. Completeness of the fossil record: Estimating losses due to small body size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooper, Roger A.; Maxwell, Phillip A.; Crampton, James S.; Beu, Alan G.; Jones, Craig M.; Marshall, Bruce A.

    2006-04-01

    Size bias in the fossil record limits its use for interpreting patterns of past biodiversity and ecological change. Using comparative size frequency distributions of exceptionally good regional records of New Zealand Holocene and Cenozoic Mollusca in museum archive collections, we derive first-order estimates of the magnitude of the bias against small body size and the effect of this bias on completeness of the fossil record. Our database of 3907 fossil species represents an original living pool of 9086 species, from which ˜36% have been removed by size culling, 27% from the smallest size class (<5 mm). In contrast, non-size-related losses compose only 21% of the total. In soft rocks, the loss of small taxa can be reduced by nearly 50% through the employment of exhaustive collection and preparation techniques.

  7. Experimental analysis of decay biases in the fossil record of lobopodians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murdock, Duncan; Gabbott, Sarah; Purnell, Mark

    2016-04-01

    If fossils are to realize their full potential in reconstructing the tree of life we must understand how our view of ancient organisms is obscured by taphonomic filters of decay and preservation. In most cases, processes of decay will leave behind either nothing or only the most decay resistant body parts, and even in those rare instances where soft tissues are fossilized we cannot assume that the resulting fossil, however exquisite, represents a faithful anatomical representation of the animal as it was in life.Recent experiments have shown that the biases introduced by decay can be far from random; in chordates, for example, the most phylogenetically informative characters are also the most decay-prone, resulting in 'stemward slippage'. But how widespread is this phenomenon, and are there other non-random biases linked to decay? Intuitively, we make assumptions about the likelihood of different kinds of characters to survive and be preserved, with knock-on effects for anatomical and phylogenetic interpretations. To what extent are these assumptions valid? We combine our understanding of the fossil record of lobopodians with insights from decay experiments of modern onychophorans (velvet worms) to test these assumptions. Our analysis demonstrates that taphonomically informed tests of character interpretations have the potential to improve phylogenetic resolution. This approach is widely applicable to the fossil record - allowing us to ground-truth some of the assumptions involved in describing exceptionally preserved fossil material.

  8. Phanerozoic marine biodiversity dynamics in light of the incompleteness of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Lu, Peter J; Yogo, Motohiro; Marshall, Charles R

    2006-02-21

    Long-term evolutionary dynamics have been approached through quantitative analysis of the fossil record, but without explicitly taking its incompleteness into account. Here we explore the temporal covariance structure of per-genus origination and extinction rates for global marine fossil genera throughout the Phanerozoic, both before and after corrections for the incompleteness of the fossil record. Using uncorrected data based on Sepkoski's compendium, we find significant autocovariance within origination and extinction rates, as well as covariance between extinction and origination, not one, but two, intervals later, corroborating evidence for the unexplained temporal gap found by past studies. However, these effects vanish when the data are corrected for the incompleteness of the fossil record. Instead, we observe significant covariance only between extinction and origination in the immediately following intervals. The gap in the response of the biosphere to extinction in the uncorrected fossil record thus appears to be an artifact of the incompleteness of the fossil record, specifically due to episodic variation in the probability that taxa will be preserved, on time scales comparable to the temporal resolution of Sepkoski's data. Our results also indicate that at that temporal resolution (the stage/substage of duration approximately = 5 million years), changes in origination and extinction do not persist for longer than one interval, except that elevated origination rates immediately after extinction may last for more than a single interval. Thus, although certain individual cases may deviate from the overall pattern, we find that in general the biosphere's response to perturbation is immediate geologically and usually short-lived. PMID:16477008

  9. Phanerozoic marine biodiversity dynamics in light of the incompleteness of the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Peter J.; Yogo, Motohiro; Marshall, Charles R.

    2006-01-01

    Long-term evolutionary dynamics have been approached through quantitative analysis of the fossil record, but without explicitly taking its incompleteness into account. Here we explore the temporal covariance structure of per-genus origination and extinction rates for global marine fossil genera throughout the Phanerozoic, both before and after corrections for the incompleteness of the fossil record. Using uncorrected data based on Sepkoski’s compendium, we find significant autocovariance within origination and extinction rates, as well as covariance between extinction and origination, not one, but two, intervals later, corroborating evidence for the unexplained temporal gap found by past studies. However, these effects vanish when the data are corrected for the incompleteness of the fossil record. Instead, we observe significant covariance only between extinction and origination in the immediately following intervals. The gap in the response of the biosphere to extinction in the uncorrected fossil record thus appears to be an artifact of the incompleteness of the fossil record, specifically due to episodic variation in the probability that taxa will be preserved, on time scales comparable to the temporal resolution of Sepkoski’s data. Our results also indicate that at that temporal resolution (the stage/substage of duration ≈5 million years), changes in origination and extinction do not persist for longer than one interval, except that elevated origination rates immediately after extinction may last for more than a single interval. Thus, although certain individual cases may deviate from the overall pattern, we find that in general the biosphere’s response to perturbation is immediate geologically and usually short-lived. PMID:16477008

  10. Impact theory of mass extinctions and the invertebrate fossil record

    SciTech Connect

    Alvarez, W.; Kauffman, E.G.; Surlyk, F.; Alvarez, L.W.; Asaro, F.; Michel, H.V.

    1984-03-16

    There is much evidence that the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary was marked by a massive meteorite impact. Theoretical consideration of the consequences of such an impact predicts sharp extinctions in many groups of animals precisely at the boundary. Paleontological data clearly show gradual declines in diversity over the last 1 to 10 million years in various invertebrate groups. Reexamination of data from careful studies of the best sections shows that, in addition to undergoing the decline, four groups (ammonites, cheilostomate bryozoans, brachiopods, and bivalves) were affected by sudden truncations precisely at the iridium anomaly that marks the boundary. The paleontological record thus bears witness to terminal-Cretaceous extinctions on two time scales: a slow decline unrelated to the impact and a sharp truncation synchronous with and probably caused by the impact. 50 references, 4 figures.

  11. Extant-only comparative methods fail to recover the disparity preserved in the bird fossil record.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Jonathan S

    2015-09-01

    Most extant species are in clades with poor fossil records, and recent studies of comparative methods show they have low power to infer even highly simplified models of trait evolution without fossil data. Birds are a well-studied radiation, yet their early evolutionary patterns are still contentious. The fossil record suggests that birds underwent a rapid ecological radiation after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, and several smaller, subsequent radiations. This hypothesized series of repeated radiations from fossil data is difficult to test using extant data alone. By uniting morphological and phylogenetic data on 604 extant genera of birds with morphological data on 58 species of extinct birds from 50 million years ago, the "halfway point" of avian evolution, I have been able to test how well extant-only methods predict the diversity of fossil forms. All extant-only methods underestimate the disparity, although the ratio of within- to between-clade disparity does suggest high early rates. The failure of standard models to predict high early disparity suggests that recent radiations are obscuring deep time patterns in the evolution of birds. Metrics from different models can be used in conjunction to provide more valuable insights than simply finding the model with the highest relative fit.

  12. Ancient DNA sheds new light on the Svalbard foraminiferal fossil record of the last millennium.

    PubMed

    Pawłowska, J; Lejzerowicz, F; Esling, P; Szczuciński, W; Zajączkowski, M; Pawlowski, J

    2014-07-01

    Recent palaeogenetic studies have demonstrated the occurrence of preserved ancient DNA (aDNA) in various types of fossilised material. Environmental aDNA sequences assigned to modern species have been recovered from marine sediments dating to the Pleistocene. However, the match between the aDNA and the fossil record still needs to be evaluated for the environmental DNA approaches to be fully exploited. Here, we focus on foraminifera in sediments up to one thousand years old retrieved from the Hornsund fjord (Svalbard). We compared the diversity of foraminiferal microfossil assemblages with the diversity of aDNA sequenced from subsurface sediment samples using both cloning and high-throughput sequencing (HTS). Our study shows that 57% of the species archived in the fossil record were also detected in the aDNA data. However, the relative abundance of aDNA sequence reads and fossil specimens differed considerably. We also found a limited match between the stratigraphic occurrence of some fossil species and their aDNA sequences, especially in the case of rare taxa. The aDNA data comprised a high proportion of non-fossilised monothalamous species, which are known to dominate in modern foraminiferal communities of the Svalbard region. Our results confirm the relevance of HTS for studying past micro-eukaryotic diversity and provide insight into its ability to reflect fossil assemblages. Palaeogenetic studies including aDNA analyses of non-fossilised groups expand the range of palaeoceanographical proxies and therefore may increase the accuracy of palaeoenvironmental reconstructions.

  13. The avian fossil record in Insular Southeast Asia and its implications for avian biogeography and palaeoecology.

    PubMed

    Meijer, Hanneke J M

    2014-01-01

    Excavations and studies of existing collections during the last decades have significantly increased the abundance as well as the diversity of the avian fossil record for Insular Southeast Asia. The avian fossil record covers the Eocene through the Holocene, with the majority of bird fossils Pleistocene in age. Fossil bird skeletal remains represent at least 63 species in 54 genera and 27 families, and two ichnospecies are represented by fossil footprints. Birds of prey, owls and swiftlets are common elements. Extinctions seem to have been few, suggesting continuity of avian lineages since at least the Late Pleistocene, although some shifts in species ranges have occurred in response to climatic change. Similarities between the Late Pleistocene avifaunas of Flores and Java suggest a dispersal route across southern Sundaland. Late Pleistocene assemblages of Niah Cave (Borneo) and Liang Bua (Flores) support the rainforest refugium hypothesis in Southeast Asia as they indicate the persistence of forest cover, at least locally, throughout the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. PMID:24688871

  14. The avian fossil record in Insular Southeast Asia and its implications for avian biogeography and palaeoecology

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Excavations and studies of existing collections during the last decades have significantly increased the abundance as well as the diversity of the avian fossil record for Insular Southeast Asia. The avian fossil record covers the Eocene through the Holocene, with the majority of bird fossils Pleistocene in age. Fossil bird skeletal remains represent at least 63 species in 54 genera and 27 families, and two ichnospecies are represented by fossil footprints. Birds of prey, owls and swiftlets are common elements. Extinctions seem to have been few, suggesting continuity of avian lineages since at least the Late Pleistocene, although some shifts in species ranges have occurred in response to climatic change. Similarities between the Late Pleistocene avifaunas of Flores and Java suggest a dispersal route across southern Sundaland. Late Pleistocene assemblages of Niah Cave (Borneo) and Liang Bua (Flores) support the rainforest refugium hypothesis in Southeast Asia as they indicate the persistence of forest cover, at least locally, throughout the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. PMID:24688871

  15. Extant-only comparative methods fail to recover the disparity preserved in the bird fossil record.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Jonathan S

    2015-09-01

    Most extant species are in clades with poor fossil records, and recent studies of comparative methods show they have low power to infer even highly simplified models of trait evolution without fossil data. Birds are a well-studied radiation, yet their early evolutionary patterns are still contentious. The fossil record suggests that birds underwent a rapid ecological radiation after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, and several smaller, subsequent radiations. This hypothesized series of repeated radiations from fossil data is difficult to test using extant data alone. By uniting morphological and phylogenetic data on 604 extant genera of birds with morphological data on 58 species of extinct birds from 50 million years ago, the "halfway point" of avian evolution, I have been able to test how well extant-only methods predict the diversity of fossil forms. All extant-only methods underestimate the disparity, although the ratio of within- to between-clade disparity does suggest high early rates. The failure of standard models to predict high early disparity suggests that recent radiations are obscuring deep time patterns in the evolution of birds. Metrics from different models can be used in conjunction to provide more valuable insights than simply finding the model with the highest relative fit. PMID:26257156

  16. Fossil DNA as a Recorder of Ancient Microbial Communities and Palaeoenvironments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coolen, M. J.; Boere, A.; Abbas, B.; Muyzer, G.; Overmann, J.; Wakeham, S. G.; Volkman, J. K.; Sinninghe Damste, J. S.

    2005-12-01

    Fossilized organic components provide an archive of ancient aquatic microbial communities and, hence, can be used to reconstruct climate-induced environmental changes and their impacts on biodiversity. However, the interpretation of these data is complicated by the limited source specificity of some traditional biomarkers, such as lipids and pigments. The ultimate biomarkers are genes encoding for ribosomal RNA (rDNA), which sequences provide information at the species level by phylogenetic comparison but until recently was only applied to identify extant species within environmental samples. With the exception of excellent preservation conditions prevailing in permafrost sediments (3), it was generally believed that DNA becomes rapidly degraded within fossil records. However, we have recently shown that especially in the presence of hydrogen sulfide, DNA can survive in the Holocene fossil record (1, 2). In this presentation we will show how, and to what extent, fossil DNA extracted from Holocene sediments of stratified lakes (the Canadian Mahoney Lake and the Antarctic Ace Lake) and the deep-sea (Black Sea) can be used as a novel proxy to reconstruct the ancient palaeodepositional environments and evolution of past microbial communities. In addition, we will discuss the fate of fossil DNA; quantitative stratigraphic analysis of lipid biomarkers and rDNA from the same biological precursors revealed information on the survival of fossil DNA in comparison to lipid biomarkers. It was shown that most of the DNA was degraded before dead cells reach the bottom but the remaining part was found to be well protected and even less prone to diagenetic alteration compared to certain lipid biomarkers. Base-pair compositions did not change during the Holocene, however, the fossil DNA became fragmented after several thousands of years of deposition but without significantly biasing the qualitative and quantitative molecular biological analysis of at least 10-ka-old fossil DNA

  17. Early Life on Earth: the Ancient Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Westall, F.

    2004-07-01

    The evidence for early life and its initial evolution on Earth is lin= ked intimately with the geological evolution of the early Earth. The environment of the early Earth would be considered extreme by modern standards: hot (50-80=B0C), volcanically and hydrothermally active, a= noxic, high UV flux, and a high flux of extraterrestrial impacts. Habitats = for life were more limited until continent-building processes resulted in= the formation of stable cratons with wide, shallow, continental platforms= in the Mid-Late Archaean. Unfortunately there are no records of the first appearance of life and the earliest isotopic indications of the exist= ence of organisms fractionating carbon in ~3.8 Ga rocks from the Isua greenst= one belt in Greenland are tenuous. Well-preserved microfossils and micro= bial mats (in the form of tabular and domical stromatolites) occur in 3.5-= 3.3 Ga, Early Archaean, sedimentary formations from the Barberton (South Afri= ca) and Pilbara (Australia) greenstone belts. They document life forms that = show a relatively advanced level of evolution. Microfossil morphology inclu= des filamentous, coccoid, rod and vibroid shapes. Colonial microorganism= s formed biofilms and microbial mats at the surfaces of volcaniclastic = and chemical sediments, some of which created (small) macroscopic microbi= alites such as stromatolites. Anoxygenic photosynthesis may already have developed. Carbon, nitrogen and sulphur isotopes ratios are in the r= ange of those for organisms with anaerobic metabolisms, such as methanogenesi= s, sulphate reduction and photosynthesis. Life was apparently distribute= d widely in shallow-water to littoral environments, including exposed, evaporitic basins and regions of hydrothermal activity. Biomass in t= he early Archaean was restricted owing to the limited amount of energy t= hat could be produced by anaerobic metabolisms. Microfossils resembling o= xygenic photosynthesisers, such as cyanobacteria, probably first occurred in

  18. Atmospheric composition as a potential taphonomic filter for the fossil leaf record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bacon, Karen; Haworth, Matthew; McElwain, Jennifer

    2016-04-01

    Controlled environment chambers provide a unique opportunity to investigate plant responses to simulated palaeoatmospheric compositions that reflect previous periods of Earth history. One potentially important role of atmospheric composition that has not been considered in detail, is how it may affect plant preservation in the fossil record. Previous work has shown that plants, particularly angiosperms, have a tendency to increase leaf mass per area (LMA) when grown in above-ambient CO2. We tested the response of six nearest living equivalent taxa for Mesozoic floras to a range of simulated Mesozoic palaeoatmospheric treatments in controlled environment chambers. Exposure to high CO2 (~1,500 ppm) led to a statistically significant (p < 0.001) increase in LMA in four out of 6 species and exposure to high CO2 and low O2 (~13%) led to a statistically significant (p < 0.001) increase in LMA in all six species. These findings suggest that atmospheric composition has a highly significant impact on LMA. If this is also the case in fossil floras, then this suggests that atmospheric composition may influence leaf preservation potential in the fossil record. Based on these results, we put forward the hypothesis that atmospheric composition is an important taphonomic filter of the fossil leaf record. Further research is now required to test the significance of atmospheric composition versus other well-known taphonomic filters.

  19. Assessing the completeness of the fossil record using brachiopod Lazarus taxa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gearty, W.; Payne, J.

    2012-12-01

    Lazarus taxa, organisms that disappear from the fossil record only to reappear later, provide a unique opportunity to assess the completeness of the fossil record. In this study, we apply logistic regression to quantify the associations of body size, geographic extent, and species diversity with the probability of being a Lazarus genus using the Phanerozoic fossil record of brachiopods. We find that both the geographic range and species diversity of a genus are inversely associated with the probability of being a Lazarus taxon in the preceding or succeeding stage. In contrast, body size exhibits little association with the probability of becoming a Lazarus taxon. A model including species diversity and geographic extent as predictors performs best among all combinations examined, whereas a model including only shell size as a predictor performs the worst - even worse than a model that assumes Lazarus taxa are randomly drawn from all available genera. These findings suggest that geographic range and species richness data can be used to improve estimates of extensions on the observed fossil ranges of genera and, thereby, better correct for sampling effects in estimates of taxonomic diversity change through the Phanerozoic.

  20. Fossilized embryos are widespread but the record is temporally and taxonomically biased

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Donoghue, P.C.J.; Kouchinsky, A.; Waloszek, Dieter; Bengtson, S.; Dong, X.-P.; Val'Kov, A.K.; Cunningham, J.A.; Repetski, J.E.

    2006-01-01

    We report new discoveries of embryos and egg capsules from the Lower Cambrian of Siberia, Middle Cambrian of Australia and Lower Ordovician of North America. Together with existing records, embryos have now been recorded from four of the seven continents. However, the new discoveries highlight secular and systematic biases in the fossil record of embryonic stages. The temporal window within which the embryos and egg capsules are found is of relatively short duration; it ends in the Early Ordovician and is roughly coincident with that of typical "Orsten"-type faunas. The reduced occurrence of such fossils has been attributed to reducing levels of phosphate in marine waters during the early Paleozoic, but may also be owing to the increasing depth of sediment mixing by infaunal metazoans. Furthermore, most records younger than the earliest Cambrian are of a single kind - large eggs and embryos of the priapulid-like scalidophoran Markuelia. We explore alternative explanations for the low taxonomic diversity of embryos recovered thus far, including sampling, size, anatomy, ecology, and environment, concluding that the preponderance of Markuelia embryos is due to its precocious development of cuticle at an embryonic stage, predisposing it to preservation through action as a substrate on which microbially mediated precipitation of authigenic calcium phosphate may occur. The fossil record of embryos may be limited to a late Neoproterozoic to early Ordovician snapshot that is subject to dramatic systematic bias. Together, these biases must be considered seriously in attempts to use the fossil record to arbitrate between hypotheses of developmental and life history evolution implicated in the origin of metazoan clades. ?? 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  1. Unlocking the early fossil record of the arthropod central nervous system.

    PubMed

    Edgecombe, Gregory D; Ma, Xiaoya; Strausfeld, Nicholas J

    2015-12-19

    Extant panarthropods (euarthropods, onychophorans and tardigrades) are hallmarked by stunning morphological and taxonomic diversity, but their central nervous systems (CNS) are relatively conserved. The timing of divergences of the ground pattern CNS organization of the major panarthropod clades has been poorly constrained because of a scarcity of data from their early fossil record. Although the CNS has been documented in three-dimensional detail in insects from Cenozoic ambers, it is widely assumed that these tissues are too prone to decay to withstand other styles of fossilization or geologically older preservation. However, Cambrian Burgess Shale-type compressions have emerged as sources of fossilized brains and nerve cords. CNS in these Cambrian fossils are preserved as carbon films or as iron oxides/hydroxides after pyrite in association with carbon. Experiments with carcasses compacted in fine-grained sediment depict preservation of neural tissue for a more prolonged temporal window than anticipated by decay experiments in other media. CNS and compound eye characters in exceptionally preserved Cambrian fossils predict divergences of the mandibulate and chelicerate ground patterns by Cambrian Stage 3 (ca 518 Ma), a dating that is compatible with molecular estimates for these splits.

  2. Unlocking the early fossil record of the arthropod central nervous system.

    PubMed

    Edgecombe, Gregory D; Ma, Xiaoya; Strausfeld, Nicholas J

    2015-12-19

    Extant panarthropods (euarthropods, onychophorans and tardigrades) are hallmarked by stunning morphological and taxonomic diversity, but their central nervous systems (CNS) are relatively conserved. The timing of divergences of the ground pattern CNS organization of the major panarthropod clades has been poorly constrained because of a scarcity of data from their early fossil record. Although the CNS has been documented in three-dimensional detail in insects from Cenozoic ambers, it is widely assumed that these tissues are too prone to decay to withstand other styles of fossilization or geologically older preservation. However, Cambrian Burgess Shale-type compressions have emerged as sources of fossilized brains and nerve cords. CNS in these Cambrian fossils are preserved as carbon films or as iron oxides/hydroxides after pyrite in association with carbon. Experiments with carcasses compacted in fine-grained sediment depict preservation of neural tissue for a more prolonged temporal window than anticipated by decay experiments in other media. CNS and compound eye characters in exceptionally preserved Cambrian fossils predict divergences of the mandibulate and chelicerate ground patterns by Cambrian Stage 3 (ca 518 Ma), a dating that is compatible with molecular estimates for these splits. PMID:26554038

  3. Unlocking the early fossil record of the arthropod central nervous system

    PubMed Central

    Edgecombe, Gregory D.; Ma, Xiaoya; Strausfeld, Nicholas J.

    2015-01-01

    Extant panarthropods (euarthropods, onychophorans and tardigrades) are hallmarked by stunning morphological and taxonomic diversity, but their central nervous systems (CNS) are relatively conserved. The timing of divergences of the ground pattern CNS organization of the major panarthropod clades has been poorly constrained because of a scarcity of data from their early fossil record. Although the CNS has been documented in three-dimensional detail in insects from Cenozoic ambers, it is widely assumed that these tissues are too prone to decay to withstand other styles of fossilization or geologically older preservation. However, Cambrian Burgess Shale-type compressions have emerged as sources of fossilized brains and nerve cords. CNS in these Cambrian fossils are preserved as carbon films or as iron oxides/hydroxides after pyrite in association with carbon. Experiments with carcasses compacted in fine-grained sediment depict preservation of neural tissue for a more prolonged temporal window than anticipated by decay experiments in other media. CNS and compound eye characters in exceptionally preserved Cambrian fossils predict divergences of the mandibulate and chelicerate ground patterns by Cambrian Stage 3 (ca 518 Ma), a dating that is compatible with molecular estimates for these splits. PMID:26554038

  4. Diversity-dependence brings molecular phylogenies closer to agreement with the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Etienne, Rampal S; Haegeman, Bart; Stadler, Tanja; Aze, Tracy; Pearson, Paul N; Purvis, Andy; Phillimore, Albert B

    2012-04-01

    The branching times of molecular phylogenies allow us to infer speciation and extinction dynamics even when fossils are absent. Troublingly, phylogenetic approaches usually return estimates of zero extinction, conflicting with fossil evidence. Phylogenies and fossils do agree, however, that there are often limits to diversity. Here, we present a general approach to evaluate the likelihood of a phylogeny under a model that accommodates diversity-dependence and extinction. We find, by likelihood maximization, that extinction is estimated most precisely if the rate of increase in the number of lineages in the phylogeny saturates towards the present or first decreases and then increases. We demonstrate the utility and limits of our approach by applying it to the phylogenies for two cases where a fossil record exists (Cetacea and Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera) and to three radiations lacking fossil evidence (Dendroica, Plethodon and Heliconius). We propose that the diversity-dependence model with extinction be used as the standard model for macro-evolutionary dynamics because of its biological realism and flexibility. PMID:21993508

  5. Fossil invertebrates records in cave sediments and paleoenvironmental assessments: a study of four cave sites from Romanian Carpathians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moldovan, O. T.; Constantin, S.; Panaiotu, C.; Roban, R. D.; Frenzel, P.; Miko, L.

    2015-06-01

    Fossil invertebrates from cave sediments have been recently described as a potential new proxy for paleoenvironment and used in cross-correlations with alternate proxy records from cave deposits. Here we present the results of a fossil invertebrates study in four caves from two climatically different regions of the Romanian Carpathians, to complement paleoenvironmental data previously reported. Oribatid mites and ostracods are the most common invertebrates in the studied cave sediments. Some of the identified taxa are new for science, and most of them are indicative for either warm/cold stages or dry/wetter oscillations. In two caves the fossil invertebrates records indicate rapid climate oscillations during times known for a relatively stable climate. By corroborating the fossil invertebrates' record with the information given by magnetic properties and sediment structures, complementary data on past vegetation, temperatures, and hydraulic regimes could be gathered. This paper analyses the potential of fossil invertebrate records as a paleoenvironmental proxy, potential problems and pitfalls.

  6. Mass extinctions in the fossil record of late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic tetrapods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benton, Michael J.

    The fossil record of tetrapods is very patchy because of the problems of preservation in terrestrial sediments, and because vertebrates are rarely very abundant. However, the fossil record of tetrapods has the advantages that it is easier to establish a phylogenetic taxonomy than for many invertebrate groups (many characters; fast evolution), and there is the potential for more detailed ecological analyses (greater knowledge of modern tetrapod ecology). The diversity of tetrapods increased during the Devonian, the Carboniferous, and the Permian, but it remained generally constant during the Triassic, the Jurassic, and the Early Cretaceous. Overall diversity then began to increase in the Late Cretaceous, and continued to do so during the Tertiary. The rapid radiation of modern tetrapod groups — frogs, salamanders, lizards, snakes, turtles, crocodiles, birds and mammals — was hardly affected by the celebrated end-Cretaceous extinction event.

  7. An Analytical Approach for Estimating Fossil Record and Diversification Events in Sharks, Skates and Rays

    PubMed Central

    Guinot, Guillaume; Adnet, Sylvain; Cappetta, Henri

    2012-01-01

    Background Modern selachians and their supposed sister group (hybodont sharks) have a long and successful evolutionary history. Yet, although selachian remains are considered relatively common in the fossil record in comparison with other marine vertebrates, little is known about the quality of their fossil record. Similarly, only a few works based on specific time intervals have attempted to identify major events that marked the evolutionary history of this group. Methodology/Principal Findings Phylogenetic hypotheses concerning modern selachians’ interrelationships are numerous but differ significantly and no consensus has been found. The aim of the present study is to take advantage of the range of recent phylogenetic hypotheses in order to assess the fit of the selachian fossil record to phylogenies, according to two different branching methods. Compilation of these data allowed the inference of an estimated range of diversity through time and evolutionary events that marked this group over the past 300 Ma are identified. Results indicate that with the exception of high taxonomic ranks (orders), the selachian fossil record is by far imperfect, particularly for generic and post-Triassic data. Timing and amplitude of the various identified events that marked the selachian evolutionary history are discussed. Conclusion/Significance Some identified diversity events were mentioned in previous works using alternative methods (Early Jurassic, mid-Cretaceous, K/T boundary and late Paleogene diversity drops), thus reinforcing the efficiency of the methodology presented here in inferring evolutionary events. Other events (Permian/Triassic, Early and Late Cretaceous diversifications; Triassic/Jurassic extinction) are newly identified. Relationships between these events and paleoenvironmental characteristics and other groups’ evolutionary history are proposed. PMID:22957091

  8. Microbial mat records in siliciclastic rocks: Examples from Four Indian Proterozoic basins and their modern equivalents in Gulf of Cambay

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sarkar, Subir; Banerjee, Santanu; Samanta, Pradip; Chakraborty, Nivedita; Chakraborty, Partha Pratim; Mukhopadhyay, Soumik; Singh, Arvind K.

    2014-09-01

    Microbial mat-related structures (MRS) in siliciclastics have been investigated from four Proterozic formations in India, namely the Marwar Supergroup, the Vindhyan Supergroup, the Chhatisgarh Supergroup and the Khariar Group for their spectral variations, genetic aspects, palaeo-environmental significance and influence on sequence stratigraphic architecture. The maximum diversification of MRS has been experienced in shallow marine coastal Precambrian successions. Observations made from modern environment as well as Precambrian rock records clearly indicates that the features like petee ridges, sand-cracks, gas domes, multi-directed ripples, reticulate surfaces, sieve-like surfaces and setulf are most likely to form in the shallowest part of the marine basins, in upper intertidal to supratidal conditions while wrinkle structures, roll-up structures and patchy ripples had a broader range of palaeogeographic settings from the supratidal to subtidal conditions. Discoidal microbial colony (DMC) represents a special variety of the mat-layer feature in modern environment that may have diverse internal architecture, sometimes falsely resembles Ediacaran medusoids. The uniqueness in sequence stratigraphic architecture of the microbial mat-covered sediment is reflected by the presence of more amalgamated HSTs compare to that of TSTs. The preservation of forced and normal regressive deposits on low-gradient epeiric shelf under low continental freeboard indicates microbial mat-infested sea-floor impedes erosion and concomitant sediment supply may facilitate formation and preservation of regressive packages.

  9. Camellia nanningensis sp. nov.: the earliest fossil wood record of the genus Camellia (Theaceae) from East Asia.

    PubMed

    Huang, Lu-Liang; Jin, Jian-Hua; Quan, Cheng; Oskolski, Alexei A

    2016-09-01

    A new species Camellia nanningensis was described on the basis of well-preserved mummified wood from the upper Oligocene Yongning Formation of Nanning Basin in Guangxi Province, South China. This represents the most ancient fossil wood assigned to Camellia, and the earliest fossil record of the family Theaceae in China. This fossil material shows that Camellia occurred in China as early as the late Oligocene, suggesting more ancient radiation of this genus than estimated by molecular dating. PMID:27379410

  10. Introduction: The Proterozoic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jenkins, Gregory S.; McKay, Christopher P.; McMenamin, Mark A. S.

    The Proterozoic (2.5 Ga-545 Ma) is perhaps the most intriguing period in Earth's history. In a typical high school physical science textbook it may be presented as a rather boring period that today's student is happy to pass over in lieu of the Mesozoic and the extinction of Tyrannosaurus rex by a large asteroid. In reality this was a period full of excitement as it opens (in the PalaeoProterozoic) with low-latitude glaciation in concert with a rise in atmospheric oxygen. The Proterozoic ends with a glacial period and a possible rise in atmospheric oxygen levels. Other highlights of the Proterozoic include: three or more severe glacial events, a long period (1 billion years) of apparent warmth without evidence of glacial deposits, significant fluctuations in δC13, two or more periods where supercontinents were assembled, cap carbonates, banded iron formations, the rise of eukaryotes and the first complex life. The juxtaposition of extreme climate conditions and major evolutionary change among complex organisms during the Proterozoic is particularly puzzling, and begs the following question: What are the factors controlling the appearance of complex life?

  11. Developmental palaeontology in synapsids: the fossil record of ontogeny in mammals and their closest relatives.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2010-04-22

    The study of fossilized ontogenies in mammals is mostly restricted to postnatal and late stages of growth, but nevertheless can deliver great insights into life history and evolutionary mechanisms affecting all aspects of development. Fossils provide evidence of developmental plasticity determined by ecological factors, as when allometric relations are modified in species which invaded a new space with a very different selection regime. This is the case of dwarfing and gigantism evolution in islands. Skeletochronological studies are restricted to the examination of growth marks mostly in the cement and dentine of teeth and can provide absolute age estimates. These, together with dental replacement data considered in a phylogenetic context, provide life-history information such as maturation time and longevity. Palaeohistology and dental replacement data document the more or less gradual but also convergent evolution of mammalian growth features during early synapsid evolution. Adult phenotypes of extinct mammals can inform developmental processes by showing a combination of features or levels of integration unrecorded in living species. Some adult features such as vertebral number, easily recorded in fossils, provide indirect information about somitogenesis and hox-gene expression boundaries. Developmental palaeontology is relevant for the discourse of ecological developmental biology, an area of research where features of growth and variation are fundamental and accessible among fossil mammals.

  12. Developmental palaeontology in synapsids: the fossil record of ontogeny in mammals and their closest relatives.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2010-04-22

    The study of fossilized ontogenies in mammals is mostly restricted to postnatal and late stages of growth, but nevertheless can deliver great insights into life history and evolutionary mechanisms affecting all aspects of development. Fossils provide evidence of developmental plasticity determined by ecological factors, as when allometric relations are modified in species which invaded a new space with a very different selection regime. This is the case of dwarfing and gigantism evolution in islands. Skeletochronological studies are restricted to the examination of growth marks mostly in the cement and dentine of teeth and can provide absolute age estimates. These, together with dental replacement data considered in a phylogenetic context, provide life-history information such as maturation time and longevity. Palaeohistology and dental replacement data document the more or less gradual but also convergent evolution of mammalian growth features during early synapsid evolution. Adult phenotypes of extinct mammals can inform developmental processes by showing a combination of features or levels of integration unrecorded in living species. Some adult features such as vertebral number, easily recorded in fossils, provide indirect information about somitogenesis and hox-gene expression boundaries. Developmental palaeontology is relevant for the discourse of ecological developmental biology, an area of research where features of growth and variation are fundamental and accessible among fossil mammals. PMID:20071389

  13. The fossil record, function, and possible origins of shell color patterns in Paleozoic marine invertebrates

    SciTech Connect

    Kobluk, D.R. ); Mapes, R.H. )

    1989-02-01

    Fossil invertebrate shells and carapaces displaying preserved original color patterns are among the rarest fossils. The fossil record of color patterns extends into the Middle Cambrian where the trilobite Anomocare displays a fan-like array of stripes on the pygidium. About 180 Paleozic genera are known with patterns, including trilobites, cephalopods, gastropods, brachiopods, bivalves, crinoids, and crustaceans. Based upon an analysis of these taxa, it appears that patterns and pigments in middle and late Paleozoic invertebrates may have served several functions such as warning displays, light screening, camouflage, or waste disposal. However, the presence of color patterns in fossil invertebrates in the early Paleozoic may have developed prior to the evolution of vision sufficiently sophisticated to see them. This suggests that camouflage and warning displays were not the original functions of color patterns, and that in the earliest Paleozoic they may not have been functional. The authors propose a hypothesis that involves three developmental phases in the evolution of invertebrate color patterns: (1) the incorporation of metabolic by-products, perhaps some pigmented and some not pigmented, into shells and carapaces as a means of disposal of dietary or metabolic wastes, (2) use of these pigments and patterns as an environmental adaptation, such as light screening, and (3) display during and following the evolution of vision in predators sufficiently sophisticated to see the patterns.

  14. Late Paleocene fossils from the Cerrejon Formation, Colombia, are the earliest record of Neotropical rainforest.

    PubMed

    Wing, Scott L; Herrera, Fabiany; Jaramillo, Carlos A; Gómez-Navarro, Carolina; Wilf, Peter; Labandeira, Conrad C

    2009-11-01

    Neotropical rainforests have a very poor fossil record, making hypotheses concerning their origins difficult to evaluate. Nevertheless, some of their most important characteristics can be preserved in the fossil record: high plant diversity, dominance by a distinctive combination of angiosperm families, a preponderance of plant species with large, smooth-margined leaves, and evidence for a high diversity of herbivorous insects. Here, we report on an approximately 58-my-old flora from the Cerrejón Formation of Colombia (paleolatitude approximately 5 degrees N) that is the earliest megafossil record of Neotropical rainforest. The flora has abundant, diverse palms and legumes and similar family composition to extant Neotropical rainforest. Three-quarters of the leaf types are large and entire-margined, indicating rainfall >2,500 mm/year and mean annual temperature >25 degrees C. Despite modern family composition and tropical paleoclimate, the diversity of fossil pollen and leaf samples is 60-80% that of comparable samples from extant and Quaternary Neotropical rainforest from similar climates. Insect feeding damage on Cerrejón fossil leaves, representing primary consumers, is abundant, but also of low diversity, and overwhelmingly made by generalist feeders rather than specialized herbivores. Cerrejón megafossils provide strong evidence that the same Neotropical rainforest families have characterized the biome since the Paleocene, maintaining their importance through climatic phases warmer and cooler than present. The low diversity of both plants and herbivorous insects in this Paleocene Neotropical rainforest may reflect an early stage in the diversification of the lineages that inhabit this biome, and/or a long recovery period from the terminal Cretaceous extinction.

  15. Large-scale heterogeneity of the fossil record: implications for Phanerozoic biodiversity studies.

    PubMed

    Smith, A B

    2001-03-29

    Patterns of origination, extinction and standing diversity through time have been inferred from tallies of taxa preserved in the fossil record. This approach assumes that sampling of the fossil record is effectively uniform over time. Although recent evidence suggests that our sampling of the available rock record has indeed been very thorough and effective, there is also overwhelming evidence that the rock record available for sampling is itself distorted by major systematic biases. Data on rock outcrop area compiled for post-Palaeozoic sediments from Western Europe at stage level are presented. These show a strongly cyclical pattern corresponding to first- and second-order sequence stratigraphical depositional cycles. Standing diversity increases over time and, at the coarsest scale, is decoupled from surface outcrop area. This increasing trend can therefore be considered a real pattern. Changes in standing diversity and origination rates over time-scales measured in tens of millions of years, however, are strongly correlated with surface outcrop area. Extinction peaks conform to a random-walk model, but larger peaks occur at just two positions with respect to second-order stratigraphical sequences, towards the culmination of stacked transgressive system tracts and close to system bases, precisely the positions where taxonomic last occurrences are predicted to cluster under a random distribution model. Many of the taxonomic patterns that have been described from the fossil record conform to a species-area effect. Whether this arises primarily from sampling bias, or from changing surface area of marine shelf seas through time and its effect on biodiversity, remains problematic. PMID:11316484

  16. The earliest fossil record of Panorpidae (Mecoptera) from the Middle Jurassic of China

    PubMed Central

    Ding, He; Shih, Chungkun; Bashkuev, Alexei; Zhao, Yunyun; Ren, Dong

    2014-01-01

    Abstract The early history of Panorpidae (Mecoptera) is poorly known due to sparse fossil records. Up to date, only nine fossil species have been described, all from the Paleogene, except the Early Cretaceous Solusipanorpa gibbidorsa Lin, 1980. However, we suggest S. gibbidorsa is too incompletely preserved to permit even family classification. A new genus with two new species, Jurassipanorpa impunctata gen. et sp. n. and Jurassipanorpa sticta sp. n., are described based on four well-preserved specimens from the late Middle Jurassic Jiulongshan Formation of Daohugou, Inner Mongolia, China. These two new species are the earliest fossil records of Panorpidae. The new genus is erected based on a combination of forewing characters: both R1 and Rs1 with two branches, 1A reaching posterior margin of wing distad of the forking of Rs from R1, and no crossveins or only one crossvein between veins of 1A and 2A. In all four specimens, long and robust setae ranging from 0.09 to 0.38 mm in length and pointing anteriorly, are present on anal veins of forewings. The function of these setae is enigmatic. PMID:25152669

  17. MicroRNAs resolve an apparent conflict between annelid systematics and their fossil record.

    PubMed

    Sperling, Erik A; Vinther, Jakob; Moy, Vanessa N; Wheeler, Benjamin M; Sémon, Marie; Briggs, Derek E G; Peterson, Kevin J

    2009-12-22

    Both the monophyly and inter-relationships of the major annelid groups have remained uncertain, despite intensive research on both morphology and molecular sequences. Morphological cladistic analyses indicate that Annelida is monophyletic and consists of two monophyletic groups, the clitellates and polychaetes, whereas molecular phylogenetic analyses suggest that polychaetes are paraphyletic and that sipunculans are crown-group annelids. Both the monophyly of polychaetes and the placement of sipunculans within annelids are in conflict with the annelid fossil record--the former because Cambrian stem taxa are similar to modern polychaetes in possessing biramous parapodia, suggesting that clitellates are derived from polychaetes; the latter because although fossil sipunculans are known from the Early Cambrian, crown-group annelids do not appear until the latest Cambrian. Here we apply a different data source, the presence versus absence of specific microRNAs--genes that encode approximately 22 nucleotide non-coding regulatory RNAs--to the problem of annelid phylogenetics. We show that annelids are monophyletic with respect to sipunculans, and polychaetes are paraphyletic with respect to the clitellate Lumbricus, conclusions that are consistent with the fossil record. Further, sipunculans resolve as the sister group of the annelids, rooting the annelid tree, and revealing the polarity of the morphological change within this diverse lineage of animals.

  18. Direct and indirect fossil records of megachilid bees from the Paleogene of Central Europe (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Wedmann, Sonja; Wappler, Torsten; Engel, Michael S

    2009-06-01

    Aside from pollen and nectar, bees of the subfamily Megachilinae are closely associated with plants as a source of materials for nest construction. Megachilines use resins, masticated leaves, trichomes and other plant materials sometimes along with mud to construct nests in cavities or in soil. Among these, the leafcutter bees (Megachile s.l.) are the most famous for their behaviour to line their brood cells with discs cut from various plants. We report on fossil records of one body fossil of a new non-leafcutting megachiline and of 12 leafcuttings from three European sites-Eckfeld and Messel, both in Germany (Eocene), and Menat, France (Paleocene). The excisions include the currently earliest record of probable Megachile activity and suggest the presence of such bees in the Paleocene European fauna. Comparison with extant leafcuttings permits the interpretation of a minimal number of species that produced these excisions. The wide range of size for the leafcuttings indirectly might suggest at least two species of Megachile for the fauna of Messel in addition to the other megachiline bee described here. The presence of several cuttings on most leaves from Eckfeld implies that the preferential foraging behaviour of extant Megachile arose early in megachiline evolution. These results demonstrate that combined investigation of body and trace fossils complement each other in understanding past biodiversity, the latter permitting the detection of taxa not otherwise directly sampled and inferences on behavioural evolution. PMID:19296064

  19. Direct and indirect fossil records of megachilid bees from the Paleogene of Central Europe (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wedmann, Sonja; Wappler, Torsten; Engel, Michael S.

    2009-06-01

    Aside from pollen and nectar, bees of the subfamily Megachilinae are closely associated with plants as a source of materials for nest construction. Megachilines use resins, masticated leaves, trichomes and other plant materials sometimes along with mud to construct nests in cavities or in soil. Among these, the leafcutter bees ( Megachile s.l.) are the most famous for their behaviour to line their brood cells with discs cut from various plants. We report on fossil records of one body fossil of a new non-leafcutting megachiline and of 12 leafcuttings from three European sites—Eckfeld and Messel, both in Germany (Eocene), and Menat, France (Paleocene). The excisions include the currently earliest record of probable Megachile activity and suggest the presence of such bees in the Paleocene European fauna. Comparison with extant leafcuttings permits the interpretation of a minimal number of species that produced these excisions. The wide range of size for the leafcuttings indirectly might suggest at least two species of Megachile for the fauna of Messel in addition to the other megachiline bee described here. The presence of several cuttings on most leaves from Eckfeld implies that the preferential foraging behaviour of extant Megachile arose early in megachiline evolution. These results demonstrate that combined investigation of body and trace fossils complement each other in understanding past biodiversity, the latter permitting the detection of taxa not otherwise directly sampled and inferences on behavioural evolution.

  20. Direct and indirect fossil records of megachilid bees from the Paleogene of Central Europe (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Wedmann, Sonja; Wappler, Torsten; Engel, Michael S

    2009-06-01

    Aside from pollen and nectar, bees of the subfamily Megachilinae are closely associated with plants as a source of materials for nest construction. Megachilines use resins, masticated leaves, trichomes and other plant materials sometimes along with mud to construct nests in cavities or in soil. Among these, the leafcutter bees (Megachile s.l.) are the most famous for their behaviour to line their brood cells with discs cut from various plants. We report on fossil records of one body fossil of a new non-leafcutting megachiline and of 12 leafcuttings from three European sites-Eckfeld and Messel, both in Germany (Eocene), and Menat, France (Paleocene). The excisions include the currently earliest record of probable Megachile activity and suggest the presence of such bees in the Paleocene European fauna. Comparison with extant leafcuttings permits the interpretation of a minimal number of species that produced these excisions. The wide range of size for the leafcuttings indirectly might suggest at least two species of Megachile for the fauna of Messel in addition to the other megachiline bee described here. The presence of several cuttings on most leaves from Eckfeld implies that the preferential foraging behaviour of extant Megachile arose early in megachiline evolution. These results demonstrate that combined investigation of body and trace fossils complement each other in understanding past biodiversity, the latter permitting the detection of taxa not otherwise directly sampled and inferences on behavioural evolution.

  1. Systematics, phylogeny, and taphonomy of ghost shrimps (Decapoda): a perspective from the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Klompmaker, Adiël A.

    2016-01-01

    Ghost shrimps of Callianassidae and Ctenochelidae are soft-bodied, usually heterochelous decapods representing major bioturbators of muddy and sandy (sub)marine substrates. Ghost shrimps have a robust fossil record spanning from the Early Cretaceous (~ 133 Ma) to the Holocene and their remains are present in most assemblages of Cenozoic decapod crustaceans. Their taxonomic interpretation is in flux, mainly because the generic assignment is hindered by their insufficient preservation and disagreement in the biological classification. Furthermore, numerous taxa are incorrectly classified within the catch-all taxon Callianassa. To show the historical patterns in describing fossil ghost shrimps and to evaluate taphonomic aspects influencing the attribution of ghost shrimp remains to higher level taxa, a database of all fossil species treated at some time as belonging to the group has been compiled: 250 / 274 species are considered valid ghost shrimp taxa herein. More than half of these taxa (160 species, 58.4%) are known only from distal cheliped elements, i.e., dactylus and / or propodus, due to the more calcified cuticle locally. Rarely, ghost shrimps are preserved in situ in burrows or in direct association with them, and several previously unpublished occurrences are reported herein. For generic assignment, fossil material should be compared to living species because many of them have modern relatives. Heterochely, intraspecific variation, ontogenetic changes and sexual dimorphism are all factors that have to be taken into account when working with fossil ghost shrimps. Distal elements are usually more variable than proximal ones. Preliminary results suggest that the ghost shrimp clade emerged not before the Hauterivian (~ 133 Ma). The divergence of Ctenochelidae and Paracalliacinae is estimated to occur within the interval of Hauterivian to Albian (133–100 Ma). Callichirinae and Eucalliacinae likely diverged later during the Late Cretaceous (100–66 Ma

  2. The role of biology in planetary evolution: cyanobacterial primary production in low-oxygen Proterozoic oceans.

    PubMed

    Hamilton, Trinity L; Bryant, Donald A; Macalady, Jennifer L

    2016-02-01

    Understanding the role of biology in planetary evolution remains an outstanding challenge to geobiologists. Progress towards unravelling this puzzle for Earth is hindered by the scarcity of well-preserved rocks from the Archean (4.0 to 2.5 Gyr ago) and Proterozoic (2.5 to 0.5 Gyr ago) Eons. In addition, the microscopic life that dominated Earth's biota for most of its history left a poor fossil record, consisting primarily of lithified microbial mats, rare microbial body fossils and membrane-derived hydrocarbon molecules that are still challenging to interpret. However, it is clear from the sulfur isotope record and other geochemical proxies that the production of oxygen or oxidizing power radically changed Earth's surface and atmosphere during the Proterozoic Eon, pushing it away from the more reducing conditions prevalent during the Archean. In addition to ancient rocks, our reconstruction of Earth's redox evolution is informed by our knowledge of biogeochemical cycles catalysed by extant biota. The emergence of oxygenic photosynthesis in ancient cyanobacteria represents one of the most impressive microbial innovations in Earth's history, and oxygenic photosynthesis is the largest source of O2 in the atmosphere today. Thus the study of microbial metabolisms and evolution provides an important link between extant biota and the clues from the geologic record. Here, we consider the physiology of cyanobacteria (the only microorganisms capable of oxygenic photosynthesis), their co-occurrence with anoxygenic phototrophs in a variety of environments and their persistence in low-oxygen environments, including in water columns as well as mats, throughout much of Earth's history. We examine insights gained from both the rock record and cyanobacteria presently living in early Earth analogue ecosystems and synthesize current knowledge of these ancient microbial mediators in planetary redox evolution. Our analysis supports the hypothesis that anoxygenic photosynthesis

  3. The role of biology in planetary evolution: cyanobacterial primary production in low‐oxygen Proterozoic oceans

    PubMed Central

    Bryant, Donald A.; Macalady, Jennifer L.

    2016-01-01

    Summary Understanding the role of biology in planetary evolution remains an outstanding challenge to geobiologists. Progress towards unravelling this puzzle for Earth is hindered by the scarcity of well‐preserved rocks from the Archean (4.0 to 2.5 Gyr ago) and Proterozoic (2.5 to 0.5 Gyr ago) Eons. In addition, the microscopic life that dominated Earth's biota for most of its history left a poor fossil record, consisting primarily of lithified microbial mats, rare microbial body fossils and membrane‐derived hydrocarbon molecules that are still challenging to interpret. However, it is clear from the sulfur isotope record and other geochemical proxies that the production of oxygen or oxidizing power radically changed Earth's surface and atmosphere during the Proterozoic Eon, pushing it away from the more reducing conditions prevalent during the Archean. In addition to ancient rocks, our reconstruction of Earth's redox evolution is informed by our knowledge of biogeochemical cycles catalysed by extant biota. The emergence of oxygenic photosynthesis in ancient cyanobacteria represents one of the most impressive microbial innovations in Earth's history, and oxygenic photosynthesis is the largest source of O 2 in the atmosphere today. Thus the study of microbial metabolisms and evolution provides an important link between extant biota and the clues from the geologic record. Here, we consider the physiology of cyanobacteria (the only microorganisms capable of oxygenic photosynthesis), their co‐occurrence with anoxygenic phototrophs in a variety of environments and their persistence in low‐oxygen environments, including in water columns as well as mats, throughout much of Earth's history. We examine insights gained from both the rock record and cyanobacteria presently living in early Earth analogue ecosystems and synthesize current knowledge of these ancient microbial mediators in planetary redox evolution. Our analysis supports the hypothesis that anoxygenic

  4. Keratin Durability Has Implications for the Fossil Record: Results from a 10 Year Feather Degradation Experiment

    PubMed Central

    Moyer, Alison E.; Zheng, Wenxia; Schweitzer, Mary H.

    2016-01-01

    Keratinous ‘soft tissue’ structures (i.e. epidermally derived and originally non-biomineralized), include feathers, skin, claws, beaks, and hair. Despite their relatively common occurrence in the fossil record (second only to bone and teeth), few studies have addressed natural degradation processes that must occur in all organic material, including those keratinous structures that are incorporated into the rock record as fossils. Because feathers have high preservation potential and strong phylogenetic signal, in the current study we examine feathers subjected to different burial environments for a duration of ~10 years, using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and in situ immunofluorescence (IF). We use morphology and persistence of specific immunoreactivity as indicators of preservation at the molecular and microstructural levels. We show that feather keratin is durable, demonstrates structural and microstructural integrity, and retains epitopes suitable for specific antibody recognition in even the harshest conditions. These data support the hypothesis that keratin antibody reactivity can be used to identify the nature and composition of epidermal structures in the rock record, and to address evolutionary questions by distinguishing between alpha- (widely distributed) and beta- (limited to sauropsids) keratin. PMID:27384819

  5. Keratin Durability Has Implications for the Fossil Record: Results from a 10 Year Feather Degradation Experiment.

    PubMed

    Moyer, Alison E; Zheng, Wenxia; Schweitzer, Mary H

    2016-01-01

    Keratinous 'soft tissue' structures (i.e. epidermally derived and originally non-biomineralized), include feathers, skin, claws, beaks, and hair. Despite their relatively common occurrence in the fossil record (second only to bone and teeth), few studies have addressed natural degradation processes that must occur in all organic material, including those keratinous structures that are incorporated into the rock record as fossils. Because feathers have high preservation potential and strong phylogenetic signal, in the current study we examine feathers subjected to different burial environments for a duration of ~10 years, using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and in situ immunofluorescence (IF). We use morphology and persistence of specific immunoreactivity as indicators of preservation at the molecular and microstructural levels. We show that feather keratin is durable, demonstrates structural and microstructural integrity, and retains epitopes suitable for specific antibody recognition in even the harshest conditions. These data support the hypothesis that keratin antibody reactivity can be used to identify the nature and composition of epidermal structures in the rock record, and to address evolutionary questions by distinguishing between alpha- (widely distributed) and beta- (limited to sauropsids) keratin. PMID:27384819

  6. MicroRNAs resolve an apparent conflict between annelid systematics and their fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Sperling, Erik A.; Vinther, Jakob; Moy, Vanessa N.; Wheeler, Benjamin M.; Sémon, Marie; Briggs, Derek E. G.; Peterson, Kevin J.

    2009-01-01

    Both the monophyly and inter-relationships of the major annelid groups have remained uncertain, despite intensive research on both morphology and molecular sequences. Morphological cladistic analyses indicate that Annelida is monophyletic and consists of two monophyletic groups, the clitellates and polychaetes, whereas molecular phylogenetic analyses suggest that polychaetes are paraphyletic and that sipunculans are crown-group annelids. Both the monophyly of polychaetes and the placement of sipunculans within annelids are in conflict with the annelid fossil record—the former because Cambrian stem taxa are similar to modern polychaetes in possessing biramous parapodia, suggesting that clitellates are derived from polychaetes; the latter because although fossil sipunculans are known from the Early Cambrian, crown-group annelids do not appear until the latest Cambrian. Here we apply a different data source, the presence versus absence of specific microRNAs—genes that encode approximately 22 nucleotide non-coding regulatory RNAs—to the problem of annelid phylogenetics. We show that annelids are monophyletic with respect to sipunculans, and polychaetes are paraphyletic with respect to the clitellate Lumbricus, conclusions that are consistent with the fossil record. Further, sipunculans resolve as the sister group of the annelids, rooting the annelid tree, and revealing the polarity of the morphological change within this diverse lineage of animals. PMID:19755470

  7. Microaerobic steroid biosynthesis and the molecular fossil record of Archean life.

    PubMed

    Waldbauer, Jacob R; Newman, Dianne K; Summons, Roger E

    2011-08-16

    The power of molecular oxygen to drive many crucial biogeochemical processes, from cellular respiration to rock weathering, makes reconstructing the history of its production and accumulation a first-order question for understanding Earth's evolution. Among the various geochemical proxies for the presence of O(2) in the environment, molecular fossils offer a unique record of O(2) where it was first produced and consumed by biology: in sunlit aquatic habitats. As steroid biosynthesis requires molecular oxygen, fossil steranes have been used to draw inferences about aerobiosis in the early Precambrian. However, better quantitative constraints on the O(2) requirement of this biochemistry would clarify the implications of these molecular fossils for environmental conditions at the time of their production. Here we demonstrate that steroid biosynthesis is a microaerobic process, enabled by dissolved O(2) concentrations in the nanomolar range. We present evidence that microaerobic marine environments (where steroid biosynthesis was possible) could have been widespread and persistent for long periods of time prior to the earliest geologic and isotopic evidence for atmospheric O(2). In the late Archean, molecular oxygen likely cycled as a biogenic trace gas, much as compounds such as dimethylsulfide do today. PMID:21825157

  8. Microaerobic steroid biosynthesis and the molecular fossil record of Archean life

    PubMed Central

    Waldbauer, Jacob R.; Newman, Dianne K.; Summons, Roger E.

    2011-01-01

    The power of molecular oxygen to drive many crucial biogeochemical processes, from cellular respiration to rock weathering, makes reconstructing the history of its production and accumulation a first-order question for understanding Earth’s evolution. Among the various geochemical proxies for the presence of O2 in the environment, molecular fossils offer a unique record of O2 where it was first produced and consumed by biology: in sunlit aquatic habitats. As steroid biosynthesis requires molecular oxygen, fossil steranes have been used to draw inferences about aerobiosis in the early Precambrian. However, better quantitative constraints on the O2 requirement of this biochemistry would clarify the implications of these molecular fossils for environmental conditions at the time of their production. Here we demonstrate that steroid biosynthesis is a microaerobic process, enabled by dissolved O2 concentrations in the nanomolar range. We present evidence that microaerobic marine environments (where steroid biosynthesis was possible) could have been widespread and persistent for long periods of time prior to the earliest geologic and isotopic evidence for atmospheric O2. In the late Archean, molecular oxygen likely cycled as a biogenic trace gas, much as compounds such as dimethylsulfide do today. PMID:21825157

  9. First Quaternary Fossil Record of Caecilians from a Mexican Archaeological Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wake, Thomas A.; Wake, Marvalee H.; Lesure, Richard G.

    1999-07-01

    A single vertebra from an Early Formative period archaeological site in coastal Chiapas, México, is identified as belonging to the amphibian Dermophis mexicanus (Duméril and Bibron) 1841 (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Caeciliidae). The vertebra was recovered from deposits dated to approximately 1200-1350 B.C. The specimen represents the first Quaternary fossil record for gymnophiones. Its presence suggests the possible role of the species as a bioturbator. Its recovery is further evidence of the utility of fine-grained archaeological recovery techniques.

  10. Assessment of the clumped isotope composition of fossil bone carbonate as a recorder of subsurface temperatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suarez, Marina B.; Passey, Benjamin H.

    2014-09-01

    Bone is susceptible to early diagenesis, and its carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions have been suggested to reflect conditions in the soil environment and shallow subsurface during fossilization. This implies open-system recrystallization involving mass exchange of carbon and oxygen among bioapatite, soil water, and DIC. Such recrystallization would also redistribute isotopic clumping (including 13C-18O bonds), leading to the possibility that the carbonate clumped isotope compositions of fossil bone record ground temperature during early diagenesis. We assess this possibility by studying Quaternary mammalian fossil bone from subtropical to polar latitudes: if recrystallization is early and pervasive, clumped isotope derived temperatures, T(Δ47), should closely mirror latitudinal gradients in ground temperature. Excluding results from a mummified specimen yielding T(Δ47) = 38 °C (that is, indistinguishable from mammalian body temperature), we find that T(Δ47) values are intermediate between mammalian body temperature and ground temperature, suggesting partial recrystallization of bone carbonate. XRD analyses show that the nature and extent of diagenesis varies among the samples and does not relate in a straightforward manner to T(Δ47). No clear correlation exists between T(Δ47) and mean annual temperature or mean warm season temperature. Furthermore, bone tends to retain the 18O-enriched signature of body water, suggesting incomplete oxygen isotope exchange with meteoric waters. Incomplete carbon and oxygen isotope exchange between bone carbonate and soil waters is also indicated for a set of late Miocene bone-enamel pairs from a sequence of stacked paleosols in northern China. Analysis of bone as old as Early Cretaceous shows that bone carbonate is susceptible to later diagenesis at elevated burial temperatures, although T(Δ47) does not closely conform to maximum burial temperature, again suggesting partial recrystallization, or recrystallization during

  11. Preservation of key biomolecules in the fossil record: current knowledge and future challenges.

    PubMed Central

    Bada, J L; Wang, X S; Hamilton, H

    1999-01-01

    preservation in the fossil record. PMID:10091249

  12. Evolutionary timescale of monocots determined by the fossilized birth-death model using a large number of fossil records.

    PubMed

    Eguchi, Satoshi; Tamura, Minoru N

    2016-05-01

    Although the phylogenetic relationships between monocot orders are sufficiently understood, a timescale of their evolution is needed. Several studies on molecular clock dating are available, but their results have been biased by their calibration schemes. Recently, the fossilized birth-death model, a type of Bayesian dating method, was proposed, and it does not require prior calibration and allows the use all available fossils. Using this model, we conducted divergence-time estimations of monocots to explore their evolutionary timeline without calibration bias. This is the first application of this model to seed plants. The dataset contained the matK and rbcL chloroplast genes of 118 monocot genera covering all extant orders. We employed information from 247 monocot fossils, which exceeded previous dating analyses that used a maximum of 12 monocot fossils. The crown group of monocots was dated to approximately the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous periods, and most extant monocot orders were estimated to diverge throughout the Early Cretaceous. Our results overlapped with the divergence time of insect lineages, such as beetles and flies, suggesting an association with pollinators in early monocot evolution. In addition, we proposed three new orders based on divergence time: Orchidales separated from Asparagales and Tofieldiales and Arales separated from Aslimatales. PMID:27061096

  13. Extinction during evolutionary radiations: reconciling the fossil record with molecular phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles R

    2009-12-01

    Recent application of time-varying birth-death models to molecular phylogenies suggests that a decreasing diversification rate can only be observed if there was a decreasing speciation rate coupled with extremely low or no extinction. However, from a paleontological perspective, zero extinction rates during evolutionary radiations seem unlikely. Here, with a more comprehensive set of computer simulations, we show that substantial extinction can occur without erasing the signal of decreasing diversification rate in a molecular phylogeny. We also find, in agreement with the previous work, that a decrease in diversification rate cannot be observed in a molecular phylogeny with an increasing extinction rate alone. Further, we find that the ability to observe decreasing diversification rates in molecular phylogenies is controlled (in part) by the ratio of the initial speciation rate (Lambda) to the extinction rate (Mu) at equilibrium (the LiMe ratio), and not by their absolute values. Here we show in principle, how estimates of initial speciation rates may be calculated using both the fossil record and the shape of lineage through time plots derived from molecular phylogenies. This is important because the fossil record provides more reliable estimates of equilibrium extinction rates than initial speciation rates.

  14. Biology in the Anthropocene: Challenges and insights from young fossil records.

    PubMed

    Kidwell, Susan M

    2015-04-21

    With overwhelming evidence of change in habitats, biologists today must assume that few, if any, study areas are natural and that biological variability is superimposed on trends rather than stationary means. Paleobiological data from the youngest sedimentary record, including death assemblages actively accumulating on modern land surfaces and seabeds, provide unique information on the status of present-day species, communities, and biomes over the last few decades to millennia and on their responses to natural and anthropogenic environmental change. Key advances have established the accuracy and resolving power of paleobiological information derived from naturally preserved remains and of proxy evidence for environmental conditions and sample age so that fossil data can both implicate and exonerate human stressors as the drivers of biotic change and permit the effects of multiple stressors to be disentangled. Legacy effects from Industrial and even pre-Industrial anthropogenic extirpations, introductions, (de)nutrification, and habitat conversion commonly emerge as the primary factors underlying the present-day status of populations and communities; within the last 2 million years, climate change has rarely been sufficient to drive major extinction pulses absent other human pressures, which are now manifold. Young fossil records also provide rigorous access to the baseline composition and dynamics of modern-day biota under pre-Industrial conditions, where insights include the millennial-scale persistence of community structures, the dominant role of physical environmental conditions rather than biotic interactions in determining community composition and disassembly, and the existence of naturally alternating states.

  15. Biology in the Anthropocene: Challenges and insights from young fossil records.

    PubMed

    Kidwell, Susan M

    2015-04-21

    With overwhelming evidence of change in habitats, biologists today must assume that few, if any, study areas are natural and that biological variability is superimposed on trends rather than stationary means. Paleobiological data from the youngest sedimentary record, including death assemblages actively accumulating on modern land surfaces and seabeds, provide unique information on the status of present-day species, communities, and biomes over the last few decades to millennia and on their responses to natural and anthropogenic environmental change. Key advances have established the accuracy and resolving power of paleobiological information derived from naturally preserved remains and of proxy evidence for environmental conditions and sample age so that fossil data can both implicate and exonerate human stressors as the drivers of biotic change and permit the effects of multiple stressors to be disentangled. Legacy effects from Industrial and even pre-Industrial anthropogenic extirpations, introductions, (de)nutrification, and habitat conversion commonly emerge as the primary factors underlying the present-day status of populations and communities; within the last 2 million years, climate change has rarely been sufficient to drive major extinction pulses absent other human pressures, which are now manifold. Young fossil records also provide rigorous access to the baseline composition and dynamics of modern-day biota under pre-Industrial conditions, where insights include the millennial-scale persistence of community structures, the dominant role of physical environmental conditions rather than biotic interactions in determining community composition and disassembly, and the existence of naturally alternating states. PMID:25901315

  16. Biology in the Anthropocene: Challenges and insights from young fossil records

    PubMed Central

    Kidwell, Susan M.

    2015-01-01

    With overwhelming evidence of change in habitats, biologists today must assume that few, if any, study areas are natural and that biological variability is superimposed on trends rather than stationary means. Paleobiological data from the youngest sedimentary record, including death assemblages actively accumulating on modern land surfaces and seabeds, provide unique information on the status of present-day species, communities, and biomes over the last few decades to millennia and on their responses to natural and anthropogenic environmental change. Key advances have established the accuracy and resolving power of paleobiological information derived from naturally preserved remains and of proxy evidence for environmental conditions and sample age so that fossil data can both implicate and exonerate human stressors as the drivers of biotic change and permit the effects of multiple stressors to be disentangled. Legacy effects from Industrial and even pre-Industrial anthropogenic extirpations, introductions, (de)nutrification, and habitat conversion commonly emerge as the primary factors underlying the present-day status of populations and communities; within the last 2 million years, climate change has rarely been sufficient to drive major extinction pulses absent other human pressures, which are now manifold. Young fossil records also provide rigorous access to the baseline composition and dynamics of modern-day biota under pre-Industrial conditions, where insights include the millennial-scale persistence of community structures, the dominant role of physical environmental conditions rather than biotic interactions in determining community composition and disassembly, and the existence of naturally alternating states. PMID:25901315

  17. Changes to the Fossil Record of Insects through Fifteen Years of Discovery

    PubMed Central

    Nicholson, David B.; Mayhew, Peter J.; Ross, Andrew J.

    2015-01-01

    The first and last occurrences of hexapod families in the fossil record are compiled from publications up to end-2009. The major features of these data are compared with those of previous datasets (1993 and 1994). About a third of families (>400) are new to the fossil record since 1994, over half of the earlier, existing families have experienced changes in their known stratigraphic range and only about ten percent have unchanged ranges. Despite these significant additions to knowledge, the broad pattern of described richness through time remains similar, with described richness increasing steadily through geological history and a shift in dominant taxa, from Palaeoptera and Polyneoptera to Paraneoptera and Holometabola, after the Palaeozoic. However, after detrending, described richness is not well correlated with the earlier datasets, indicating significant changes in shorter-term patterns. There is reduced Palaeozoic richness, peaking at a different time, and a less pronounced Permian decline. A pronounced Triassic peak and decline is shown, and the plateau from the mid Early Cretaceous to the end of the period remains, albeit at substantially higher richness compared to earlier datasets. Origination and extinction rates are broadly similar to before, with a broad decline in both through time but episodic peaks, including end-Permian turnover. Origination more consistently exceeds extinction compared to previous datasets and exceptions are mainly in the Palaeozoic. These changes suggest that some inferences about causal mechanisms in insect macroevolution are likely to differ as well. PMID:26176667

  18. Changes to the Fossil Record of Insects through Fifteen Years of Discovery.

    PubMed

    Nicholson, David B; Mayhew, Peter J; Ross, Andrew J

    2015-01-01

    The first and last occurrences of hexapod families in the fossil record are compiled from publications up to end-2009. The major features of these data are compared with those of previous datasets (1993 and 1994). About a third of families (>400) are new to the fossil record since 1994, over half of the earlier, existing families have experienced changes in their known stratigraphic range and only about ten percent have unchanged ranges. Despite these significant additions to knowledge, the broad pattern of described richness through time remains similar, with described richness increasing steadily through geological history and a shift in dominant taxa, from Palaeoptera and Polyneoptera to Paraneoptera and Holometabola, after the Palaeozoic. However, after detrending, described richness is not well correlated with the earlier datasets, indicating significant changes in shorter-term patterns. There is reduced Palaeozoic richness, peaking at a different time, and a less pronounced Permian decline. A pronounced Triassic peak and decline is shown, and the plateau from the mid Early Cretaceous to the end of the period remains, albeit at substantially higher richness compared to earlier datasets. Origination and extinction rates are broadly similar to before, with a broad decline in both through time but episodic peaks, including end-Permian turnover. Origination more consistently exceeds extinction compared to previous datasets and exceptions are mainly in the Palaeozoic. These changes suggest that some inferences about causal mechanisms in insect macroevolution are likely to differ as well.

  19. Changes to the Fossil Record of Insects through Fifteen Years of Discovery.

    PubMed

    Nicholson, David B; Mayhew, Peter J; Ross, Andrew J

    2015-01-01

    The first and last occurrences of hexapod families in the fossil record are compiled from publications up to end-2009. The major features of these data are compared with those of previous datasets (1993 and 1994). About a third of families (>400) are new to the fossil record since 1994, over half of the earlier, existing families have experienced changes in their known stratigraphic range and only about ten percent have unchanged ranges. Despite these significant additions to knowledge, the broad pattern of described richness through time remains similar, with described richness increasing steadily through geological history and a shift in dominant taxa, from Palaeoptera and Polyneoptera to Paraneoptera and Holometabola, after the Palaeozoic. However, after detrending, described richness is not well correlated with the earlier datasets, indicating significant changes in shorter-term patterns. There is reduced Palaeozoic richness, peaking at a different time, and a less pronounced Permian decline. A pronounced Triassic peak and decline is shown, and the plateau from the mid Early Cretaceous to the end of the period remains, albeit at substantially higher richness compared to earlier datasets. Origination and extinction rates are broadly similar to before, with a broad decline in both through time but episodic peaks, including end-Permian turnover. Origination more consistently exceeds extinction compared to previous datasets and exceptions are mainly in the Palaeozoic. These changes suggest that some inferences about causal mechanisms in insect macroevolution are likely to differ as well. PMID:26176667

  20. First direct evidence of a vertebrate three-level trophic chain in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kriwet, Jürgen; Witzmann, Florian; Klug, Stefanie; Heidtke, Ulrich H J

    2008-01-22

    We describe the first known occurrence of a Permian shark specimen preserving two temnospondyl amphibians in its digestive tract as well as the remains of an acanthodian fish, which was ingested by one of the temnospondyls. This exceptional find provides for the first time direct evidence of a vertebrate three-level food chain in the fossil record with the simultaneous preservation of three trophic levels. Our analysis shows that small-sized Lower Permian xenacanthid sharks of the genus Triodus preyed on larval piscivorous amphibians. The recorded trophic interaction can be explained by the adaptation of certain xenacanthids to fully freshwater environments and the fact that in these same environments, large temnospondyls occupied the niche of modern crocodiles. This unique faunal association has not been documented after the Permian and Triassic. Therefore, this Palaeozoic three-level food chain provides strong and independent support for changes in aquatic trophic chain structures through time. PMID:17971323

  1. Molecular decay of the tooth gene Enamelin (ENAM) mirrors the loss of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Meredith, Robert W; Gatesy, John; Murphy, William J; Ryder, Oliver A; Springer, Mark S

    2009-09-01

    Vestigial structures occur at both the anatomical and molecular levels, but studies documenting the co-occurrence of morphological degeneration in the fossil record and molecular decay in the genome are rare. Here, we use morphology, the fossil record, and phylogenetics to predict the occurrence of "molecular fossils" of the enamelin (ENAM) gene in four different orders of placental mammals (Tubulidentata, Pholidota, Cetacea, Xenarthra) with toothless and/or enamelless taxa. Our results support the "molecular fossil" hypothesis and demonstrate the occurrence of frameshift mutations and/or stop codons in all toothless and enamelless taxa. We then use a novel method based on selection intensity estimates for codons (omega) to calculate the timing of iterated enamel loss in the fossil record of aardvarks and pangolins, and further show that the molecular evolutionary history of ENAM predicts the occurrence of enamel in basal representatives of Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters, armadillos) even though frameshift mutations are ubiquitous in ENAM sequences of living xenarthrans. The molecular decay of ENAM parallels the morphological degeneration of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals and provides manifest evidence for the predictive power of Darwin's theory. PMID:19730686

  2. Calcification and silicification: fossilization potential of cyanobacteria from stromatolites of Niuafo'ou's Caldera Lakes (Tonga) and implications for the early fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kremer, Barbara; Kazmierczak, Józef; Lukomska-Kowalczyk, Maja; Kempe, Stephan

    2012-06-01

    Calcification and silicification processes of cyanobacterial mats that form stromatolites in two caldera lakes of Niuafo'ou Island (Vai Lahi and Vai Si'i) were evaluated, and their importance as analogues for interpreting the early fossil record are discussed. It has been shown that the potential for morphological preservation of Niuafo'ou cyanobacteria is highly dependent on the timing and type of mineral phase involved in the fossilization process. Four main modes of mineralization of cyanobacteria organic parts have been recognized: (i) primary early postmortem calcification by aragonite nanograins that transform quickly into larger needle-like crystals and almost totally destroy the cellular structures, (ii) primary early postmortem silicification of almost intact cyanobacterial cells that leave a record of spectacularly well-preserved cellular structures, (iii) replacement by silica of primary aragonite that has already recrystallized and obliterated the cellular structures, (iv) occasional replacement of primary aragonite precipitated in the mucopolysaccharide sheaths and extracellular polymeric substances by Al-Mg-Fe silicates. These observations suggest that the extremely scarce earliest fossil record may, in part, be the result of (a) secondary replacement by silica of primary carbonate minerals (aragonite, calcite, siderite), which, due to recrystallization, had already annihilated the cellular morphology of the mineralized microbiota or (b) relatively late primary silicification of already highly degraded and no longer morphologically identifiable microbial remains.

  3. Calcification and Silicification: Fossilization Potential of Cyanobacteria from Stromatolites of Niuafo‘ou's Caldera Lakes (Tonga) and Implications for the Early Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Kazmierczak, Józef; Łukomska-Kowalczyk, Maja; Kempe, Stephan

    2012-01-01

    Abstract Calcification and silicification processes of cyanobacterial mats that form stromatolites in two caldera lakes of Niuafo‘ou Island (Vai Lahi and Vai Si‘i) were evaluated, and their importance as analogues for interpreting the early fossil record are discussed. It has been shown that the potential for morphological preservation of Niuafo‘ou cyanobacteria is highly dependent on the timing and type of mineral phase involved in the fossilization process. Four main modes of mineralization of cyanobacteria organic parts have been recognized: (i) primary early postmortem calcification by aragonite nanograins that transform quickly into larger needle-like crystals and almost totally destroy the cellular structures, (ii) primary early postmortem silicification of almost intact cyanobacterial cells that leave a record of spectacularly well-preserved cellular structures, (iii) replacement by silica of primary aragonite that has already recrystallized and obliterated the cellular structures, (iv) occasional replacement of primary aragonite precipitated in the mucopolysaccharide sheaths and extracellular polymeric substances by Al-Mg-Fe silicates. These observations suggest that the extremely scarce earliest fossil record may, in part, be the result of (a) secondary replacement by silica of primary carbonate minerals (aragonite, calcite, siderite), which, due to recrystallization, had already annihilated the cellular morphology of the mineralized microbiota or (b) relatively late primary silicification of already highly degraded and no longer morphologically identifiable microbial remains. Key Words: Stromatolites—Cyanobacteria—Calcification—Silicification—Niuafo‘ou (Tonga)—Archean. Astrobiology 12, 535–548. PMID:22794297

  4. A 300-million-year record of atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil plant cuticles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Retallack, Gregory J.

    2001-05-01

    To understand better the link between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and climate over geological time, records of past CO2 are reconstructed from geochemical proxies. Although these records have provided us with a broad picture of CO2 variation throughout the Phanerozoic eon (the past 544Myr), inconsistencies and gaps remain that still need to be resolved. Here I present a continuous 300-Myr record of stomatal abundance from fossil leaves of four genera of plants that are closely related to the present-day Ginkgo tree. Using the known relationship between leaf stomatal abundance and growing season CO2 concentrations, I reconstruct past atmospheric CO2 concentrations. For the past 300Myr, only two intervals of low CO2 (<1,000p.p.m.v.) are inferred, both of which coincide with known ice ages in Neogene (1-8Myr) and early Permian (275-290Myr) times. But for most of the Mesozoic era (65-250Myr), CO2 levels were high (1,000-2,000p.p.m.v.), with transient excursions to even higher CO2 (>2,000p.p.m.v.) concentrations. These results are consistent with some reconstructions of past CO2 (refs 1, 2) and palaeotemperature records, but suggest that CO2 reconstructions based on carbon isotope proxies may be compromised by episodic outbursts of isotopically light methane. These results support the role of water vapour, methane and CO2 in greenhouse climate warming over the past 300Myr.

  5. A 300-million-year record of atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil plant cuticles.

    PubMed

    Retallack, G J

    2001-05-17

    To understand better the link between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and climate over geological time, records of past CO2 are reconstructed from geochemical proxies. Although these records have provided us with a broad picture of CO2 variation throughout the Phanerozoic eon (the past 544 Myr), inconsistencies and gaps remain that still need to be resolved. Here I present a continuous 300-Myr record of stomatal abundance from fossil leaves of four genera of plants that are closely related to the present-day Ginkgo tree. Using the known relationship between leaf stomatal abundance and growing season CO2 concentrations, I reconstruct past atmospheric CO2 concentrations. For the past 300 Myr, only two intervals of low CO2 (<1,000 p.p.m.v.) are inferred, both of which coincide with known ice ages in Neogene (1-8 Myr) and early Permian (275-290 Myr) times. But for most of the Mesozoic era (65-250 Myr), CO2 levels were high (1,000-2,000 p.p.m.v.), with transient excursions to even higher CO2 (>2,000 p.p.m.v.) concentrations. These results are consistent with some reconstructions of past CO2 (refs 1, 2) and palaeotemperature records, but suggest that CO2 reconstructions based on carbon isotope proxies may be compromised by episodic outbursts of isotopically light methane. These results support the role of water vapour, methane and CO2 in greenhouse climate warming over the past 300 Myr.

  6. Proterozoic microfossils revealing the time of algal divergences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moczydlowska-Vidal, Malgorzata

    2010-05-01

    fossils more ubiquitously and without mineralization. Microalgae radiated quickly in the Cambrian and Ordovician; however, several morphotypes with features related to the reproductive cycle occur in the Proterozoic, although they are not always recognized as such. The assignment of Proterozoic unicellular microfossils with resistant cell walls to specific eukaryotic groups is tentative. However, we argue that the new interpretations of their functional morphology, combined with cell wall ultrastructure and biochemistry, allow their assignment to microalgal classes. Microfossils with advanced ornamentation and ontogenetically formed excystment structures or endocysts, which prove that they are cysts in a complex life cycle with sexual reproduction, are related to the basal lineage of the Chlorophytes and the class Chlorophyceae. A cell wall ultrastructure with a TLS supports the affinity of some spheroidal taxa to the Chlorophytes. The phylogeny of the Chlorophytes shows a sequence of branching nodes from a stem-group of the Viridiplantae that leads to the classes Prasinophyceae and Chlorophyceae, and then the Ulvophyceae. Based on a modern interpretation of the record, the timing of these nodes is deduced to be prior to c. 1650 Ma for the Prasinophyceae, c. 1450 Ma for the Chlorophyceae, and c. 950 Ma for the Ulvophyceae. The origin of the Chlorophytes, and in general the Viridiplantae, predates 1.8 Ga. These ages, based on microfossils, are earlier than the estimates based on molecular clocks.

  7. The taphonomy of unmineralised Palaeozoic fossils preserved as siliciclastic moulds and casts, and their utility in assessing the interaction between environmental change and the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacGabhann, Breandán; Schiffbauer, James; Hagadorn, James; Van Roy, Peter; Lynch, Edward; Morrsion, Liam; Murray, John

    2015-04-01

    biopolymers, and that these tissues were preferentially fossilised by the formation of an early diagenic mould directly on the organic surfaces. Excess divalent iron ions, produced during decay of more labile tissues by means of bacterial iron reduction, would have adsorbed to anionic functional groups in the biopolymeric tissues. This would have provided a ready substrate for the formation and growth of such an early diagenic mineralised mould, including aluminosilicate minerals produced via reaction with seawater silica and metal ions, and iron sulphide minerals produced via reaction with hydrogen sulphide and free sulphur produced from seawater sulphate through bacterial sulphate reduction associated with further decay. Subsequent weathering would have oxidised such iron sulphides to oxides and oxyhydroxides. This taphonomic model supports the lack of utility of the eldonid palaeobiological record in analysing environmental influence on biological communities, due to the lack of preservation of key anatomical components. However, it also suggests that the very occurrence of fossils preserved in this style is dependent on extrinsic palaeoenvironmental factors - including pH, Eh, and the concentration of other ions in the contemporaneous seawater. Analyses of the distribution of fossils preserved in this style may therefore provide information on ambient conditions which may have affected the distribution of contemporaneous mineralised fossils, potentially allowing a more complete analysis of the effects of palaeoenvironmental change on fossil ecosystems.

  8. Filamentous fabrics in low-temperature mineral assemblages: are they fossil biomarkers? Implications for the search for a subsurface fossil record on the early Earth and Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hofmann, B. A.; Farmer, J. D.

    2000-09-01

    The subsurface has been recognized as a possible habitat for microbial life on Mars. An analogous fossil record of subsurface life is nearly missing on Earth. Here we present evidence of the widespread occurrence of such a record: tubular filamentous structures with typical core diameters of 1- 2 μm were found as inclusions in minerals deposited from low- T (<100°C) aqueous fluids in subsurface environments at >140 localities worldwide. Filaments are frequently organized in composite structures with architectures similar to microbial mats. Filaments thickly encrusted by minerals exhibit gravity-oriented structures of macroscopic dimensions that are similar to stalactites. Environments of formation are sites of low- T water circulation in macroporous rocks such as volcanics, oxidized ores, limestone solution cavities and cavernous macrofossils. The age of occurrence ranges from Precambrian to Subrecent. We interpret the filamentous structures as permineralized and encrusted microbial filaments based on the following arguments: tubular construction of filaments with constant core diameters typical of microbes ( 1.5±1.1 μm), coalescence of filaments to form mat-like structures, gravity draping of micron-thin filaments indicating an originally flexible consistency, and restriction to low- T mineral assemblages. These filamentous structures formed in subsurface environments are similar in size, morphology and construction to fossilized microbes observed in modern terrestrial and marine thermal springs. This newly recognized fossil record of subterranean microbial life opens up new perspectives in the study of the paleobiology of the terrestrial subsurface and in the exploration for fossil life on Mars. Potential host rocks on Mars include major nonsedimentary units such as volcanics and impactites.

  9. An ecometric analysis of the fossil mammal record of the Turkana Basin

    PubMed Central

    Žliobaitė, Indrė; Kaya, Ferhat; Bibi, Faysal; Bobe, René; Leakey, Louise; Leakey, Meave; Patterson, David; Rannikko, Janina; Werdelin, Lars

    2016-01-01

    Although ecometric methods have been used to analyse fossil mammal faunas and environments of Eurasia and North America, such methods have not yet been applied to the rich fossil mammal record of eastern Africa. Here we report results from analysis of a combined dataset spanning east and west Turkana from Kenya between 7 and 1 million years ago (Ma). We provide temporally and spatially resolved estimates of temperature and precipitation and discuss their relationship to patterns of faunal change, and propose a new hypothesis to explain the lack of a temperature trend. We suggest that the regionally arid Turkana Basin may between 4 and 2 Ma have acted as a ‘species factory’, generating ecological adaptations in advance of the global trend. We show a persistent difference between the eastern and western sides of the Turkana Basin and suggest that the wetlands of the shallow eastern side could have provided additional humidity to the terrestrial ecosystems. Pending further research, a transient episode of faunal change centred at the time of the KBS Member (1.87–1.53 Ma), may be equally plausibly attributed to climate change or to a top-down ecological cascade initiated by the entry of technologically sophisticated humans. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Major transitions in human evolution’. PMID:27298463

  10. Live coral cover in the fossil record: an example from Holocene reefs of the Dominican Republic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lescinsky, H.; Titus, B.; Hubbard, D.

    2012-06-01

    Fossil reefs hold important ecological information that can provide a prehuman baseline for understanding recent anthropogenic changes in reefs systems. The most widely used proxy for reef "health," however, is live coral cover, and this has not been quantified in the fossil record because it is difficult to establish that even adjacent corals were alive at the same time. This study uses microboring and taphonomic proxies to differentiate between live and dead corals along well-defined time surfaces in Holocene reefs of the Enriquillo Valley, Dominican Republic. At Cañada Honda, live coral cover ranged from 59 to 80% along a contemporaneous surface buried by a storm layer, and the reef, as a whole had 33-80% live cover within the branching, mixed, massive and platy zones. These values equal or exceed those in the Dominican Republic and Caribbean today or reported decades ago. The values from the western Dominican Republic provide a geologic baseline against which modern anthropogenic changes in Caribbean reefs can be considered.

  11. Balsscallichirus Sakai, 2011 (Decapoda: Axiidea: Callianassidae) in the fossil record: systematics and palaeobiogeography

    PubMed Central

    Hyžný, Matúš

    2016-01-01

    The fossil record of the ghost shrimp genus Balsscallichirus Sakai, 2011 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Callianassidae) is revised. Barnardcallichirus Sakai, 2011 and Tirmizicallichirus Sakai, 2011 are considered subjective synonyms of Balsscallichirus. Based on the examination of extant species it is argued that the morphology of the major cheliped merus, in combination with other hard part morphology characters, is sufficient for assignment of the fossil material into the genus. Main identifying characters are on merus which is keeled along its midline and its lower half is tuberculated; its lower margin possesses broad proximal meral hook continuing into a lobe distally; the entire lower margin is subdivided into numerous irregularly spaced spines. Three species, Callianassa sismondai A. Milne-Edwards, 1860, C. floriana Glaessner, 1928, and Podocallichirus laepaensis Hyžný & Muñiz, 2012, originally described from the Miocene of Italy, Austria and Spain, respectively, are assigned to Balsscallichirus herein. Neocallichirus wellsi Schweitzer, Feldmann & Gingerich, 2004 from the Upper Eocene of Pakistan is tentatively assigned to that genus as well. Spatial and temporal distribution of the genus indicates that at least since the Oligocene, and possibly even sooner (the Late Eocene), the genus has been restricted to the Western Tethys Region. Later, it migrated also into West Atlantic establishing present day communities. PMID:27499568

  12. Fossil records of subsection Pinus (genus Pinus, Pinaceae) from the Cenozoic in Japan.

    PubMed

    Yamada, Toshihiro; Yamada, Mariko; Tsukagoshi, Minoru

    2014-03-01

    Extant pines of subsection Pinus (section Pinus, genus Pinus, Pinaceae) are predominantly distributed in Eastern Asia. However, the extent of diversification in the section has yet to be fully clarified. We reviewed fossil records of subsection Pinus from Japan and collected permineralized materials, in which anatomical details are preserved for better understanding of the diversification. Our results suggest that this subsection appeared in Japan no earlier than the Middle Eocene, with extant species (i.e., Pinus densiflora and Pinus thunbergii) appearing around the beginning of the Pleistocene. Pinus fujiii (Early Miocene to Early Pleistocene) is inferred to have a close affinity to P. thunbergii based on the medial arrangement of its leaf resin canals. Additionally, P. fujiii has a similar cone morphology to those of extant species living in China, bridging the morphological gap between P. thunbergii and Chinese relatives of P. thunbergii as inferred by molecular phylogenetic analyses. Our results also suggest that taxonomic revisions of Pinus miocenica and Pinus oligolepis are required among the Japanese fossil species reported to date.

  13. An ecometric analysis of the fossil mammal record of the Turkana Basin.

    PubMed

    Fortelius, Mikael; Žliobaitė, Indrė; Kaya, Ferhat; Bibi, Faysal; Bobe, René; Leakey, Louise; Leakey, Meave; Patterson, David; Rannikko, Janina; Werdelin, Lars

    2016-07-01

    Although ecometric methods have been used to analyse fossil mammal faunas and environments of Eurasia and North America, such methods have not yet been applied to the rich fossil mammal record of eastern Africa. Here we report results from analysis of a combined dataset spanning east and west Turkana from Kenya between 7 and 1 million years ago (Ma). We provide temporally and spatially resolved estimates of temperature and precipitation and discuss their relationship to patterns of faunal change, and propose a new hypothesis to explain the lack of a temperature trend. We suggest that the regionally arid Turkana Basin may between 4 and 2 Ma have acted as a 'species factory', generating ecological adaptations in advance of the global trend. We show a persistent difference between the eastern and western sides of the Turkana Basin and suggest that the wetlands of the shallow eastern side could have provided additional humidity to the terrestrial ecosystems. Pending further research, a transient episode of faunal change centred at the time of the KBS Member (1.87-1.53 Ma), may be equally plausibly attributed to climate change or to a top-down ecological cascade initiated by the entry of technologically sophisticated humans.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'.

  14. An ecometric analysis of the fossil mammal record of the Turkana Basin.

    PubMed

    Fortelius, Mikael; Žliobaitė, Indrė; Kaya, Ferhat; Bibi, Faysal; Bobe, René; Leakey, Louise; Leakey, Meave; Patterson, David; Rannikko, Janina; Werdelin, Lars

    2016-07-01

    Although ecometric methods have been used to analyse fossil mammal faunas and environments of Eurasia and North America, such methods have not yet been applied to the rich fossil mammal record of eastern Africa. Here we report results from analysis of a combined dataset spanning east and west Turkana from Kenya between 7 and 1 million years ago (Ma). We provide temporally and spatially resolved estimates of temperature and precipitation and discuss their relationship to patterns of faunal change, and propose a new hypothesis to explain the lack of a temperature trend. We suggest that the regionally arid Turkana Basin may between 4 and 2 Ma have acted as a 'species factory', generating ecological adaptations in advance of the global trend. We show a persistent difference between the eastern and western sides of the Turkana Basin and suggest that the wetlands of the shallow eastern side could have provided additional humidity to the terrestrial ecosystems. Pending further research, a transient episode of faunal change centred at the time of the KBS Member (1.87-1.53 Ma), may be equally plausibly attributed to climate change or to a top-down ecological cascade initiated by the entry of technologically sophisticated humans.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298463

  15. Insect-damaged fossil leaves record food web response to ancient climate change and extinction.

    PubMed

    Wilf, P

    2008-01-01

    Plants and herbivorous insects have dominated terrestrial ecosystems for over 300 million years. Uniquely in the fossil record, foliage with well-preserved insect damage offers abundant and diverse information both about producers and about ecological and sometimes taxonomic groups of consumers. These data are ideally suited to investigate food web response to environmental perturbations, and they represent an invaluable deep-time complement to neoecological studies of global change. Correlations between feeding diversity and temperature, between herbivory and leaf traits that are modulated by climate, and between insect diversity and plant diversity can all be investigated in deep time. To illustrate, I emphasize recent work on the time interval from the latest Cretaceous through the middle Eocene (67-47 million years ago (Ma)), including two significant events that affected life: the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (65.5 Ma) and its ensuing recovery; and globally warming temperatures across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary (55.8 Ma). Climatic effects predicted from neoecology generally hold true in these deep-time settings. Rising temperature is associated with increased herbivory in multiple studies, a result with major predictive importance for current global warming. Diverse floras are usually associated with diverse insect damage; however, recovery from the end-Cretaceous extinction reveals uncorrelated plant and insect diversity as food webs rebuilt chaotically from a drastically simplified state. Calibration studies from living forests are needed to improve interpretation of the fossil data.

  16. New Biogeographic insight into Bauhinia s.l. (Leguminosae): integration from fossil records and molecular analyses

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Given that most species that have ever existed on earth are extinct, it stands to reason that the evolutionary history can be better understood with fossil taxa. Bauhinia is a typical genus of pantropical intercontinental disjunction among the Asian, African, and American continents. Geographic distribution patterns are better recognized when fossil records and molecular sequences are combined in the analyses. Here, we describe a new macrofossil species of Bauhinia from the Upper Miocene Xiaolongtan Formation in Wenshan County, Southeast Yunnan, China, and elucidate the biogeographic significance through the analyses of molecules and fossils. Results Morphometric analysis demonstrates that the leaf shapes of B. acuminata, B. championii, B. chalcophylla, B. purpurea, and B. podopetala closely resemble the leaf shapes of the new finding fossil. Phylogenetic relationships among the Bauhinia species were reconstructed using maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference, which inferred that species in Bauhinia species are well-resolved into three main groups. Divergence times were estimated by the Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method under a relaxed clock, and inferred that the stem diversification time of Bauhinia was ca. 62.7 Ma. The Asian lineage first diverged at ca. 59.8 Ma, followed by divergence of the Africa lineage starting during the late Eocene, whereas that of the neotropical lineage starting during the middle Miocene. Conclusions Hypotheses relying on vicariance or continental history to explain pantropical disjunct distributions are dismissed because they require mostly Palaeogene and older tectonic events. We suggest that Bauhinia originated in the middle Paleocene in Laurasia, probably in Asia, implying a possible Tethys Seaway origin or an “Out of Tropical Asia”, and dispersal of legumes. Its present pantropical disjunction resulted from disruption of the boreotropical flora by climatic cooling after the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal

  17. Fossil invertebrates records in cave sediments and paleoenvironmental assessments - a study of four cave sites from Romanian Carpathians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moldovan, O. T.; Constantin, S.; Panaiotu, C.; Roban, R. D.; Frenzel, P.; Miko, L.

    2016-01-01

    Fossil invertebrates from cave sediments have been recently described as a potential new proxy for paleoenvironment and used in cross-correlations with alternate proxy records from cave deposits. Here we present the results of a fossil invertebrates study in four caves from two climatically different regions of the Romanian Carpathians, to complement paleoenvironmental data previously reported. Oribatid mites and ostracods are the most common invertebrates in the studied cave sediments. Some of the identified taxa are new to science, and most of them are indicative for either warm and/or cold stages or dry and/or wetter oscillations. In two caves the fossil invertebrates records indicate rapid climate oscillations during times known for a relatively stable climate. By corroborating the fossil invertebrates' record with the information given by magnetic properties and sediment structures, complementary data on past vegetation, temperatures and hydraulic regimes could be gathered. This paper analyzes the potential of fossil invertebrate records as a paleoenvironmental proxy, potential problems and pitfalls.

  18. A dinosaurian facial deformity and the first occurrence of ameloblastoma in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Dumbravă, Mihai D; Rothschild, Bruce M; Weishampel, David B; Csiki-Sava, Zoltán; Andrei, Răzvan A; Acheson, Katharine A; Codrea, Vlad A

    2016-01-01

    Despite documentation of various types of neoplastic pathologies encountered in the vertebrate fossil record, no ameloblastic tumours have been recognised so far. Ameloblastoma is a benign neoplasic tumour with a strong preponderance for the mandible. Here, we report for the first time the presence of an ameloblastoma neoplasm in the lower jaw of a specimen referred to the derived non-hadrosaurid hadrosauroid dinosaur Telmatosaurus transsylvanicus from the uppermost Cretaceous of the Haeg Basin in Romania. The location, external appearance and internal structure of the pathological outgrowth provide clear evidence for the diagnosis of ameloblastoma in Telmatosaurus. This report extends the range of pathologies encountered in hadrosauroid dinosaurs. In addition, recognition of an ameloblastoma neoplasm in a taxon lying close to the origin of 'duck-billed' hadrosaurid dinosaurs confirms the predisposition of this clade towards neoplasia pathologies already in its basal members. PMID:27377317

  19. A dinosaurian facial deformity and the first occurrence of ameloblastoma in the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Dumbravă, Mihai D.; Rothschild, Bruce M.; Weishampel, David B.; Csiki-Sava, Zoltán; Andrei, Răzvan A.; Acheson, Katharine A.; Codrea, Vlad A.

    2016-01-01

    Despite documentation of various types of neoplastic pathologies encountered in the vertebrate fossil record, no ameloblastic tumours have been recognised so far. Ameloblastoma is a benign neoplasic tumour with a strong preponderance for the mandible. Here, we report for the first time the presence of an ameloblastoma neoplasm in the lower jaw of a specimen referred to the derived non-hadrosaurid hadrosauroid dinosaur Telmatosaurus transsylvanicus from the uppermost Cretaceous of the Haeg Basin in Romania. The location, external appearance and internal structure of the pathological outgrowth provide clear evidence for the diagnosis of ameloblastoma in Telmatosaurus. This report extends the range of pathologies encountered in hadrosauroid dinosaurs. In addition, recognition of an ameloblastoma neoplasm in a taxon lying close to the origin of ‘duck-billed’ hadrosaurid dinosaurs confirms the predisposition of this clade towards neoplasia pathologies already in its basal members. PMID:27377317

  20. Hominin cognitive evolution: identifying patterns and processes in the fossil and archaeological record

    PubMed Central

    Shultz, Susanne; Nelson, Emma; Dunbar, Robin I. M.

    2012-01-01

    As only limited insight into behaviour is available from the archaeological record, much of our understanding of historical changes in human cognition is restricted to identifying changes in brain size and architecture. Using both absolute and residual brain size estimates, we show that hominin brain evolution was likely to be the result of a mix of processes; punctuated changes at approximately 100 kya, 1 Mya and 1.8 Mya are supplemented by gradual within-lineage changes in Homo erectus and Homo sapiens sensu lato. While brain size increase in Homo in Africa is a gradual process, migration of hominins into Eurasia is associated with step changes at approximately 400 kya and approximately 100 kya. We then demonstrate that periods of rapid change in hominin brain size are not temporally associated with changes in environmental unpredictability or with long-term palaeoclimate trends. Thus, we argue that commonly used global sea level or Indian Ocean dust palaeoclimate records provide little evidence for either the variability selection or aridity hypotheses explaining changes in hominin brain size. Brain size change at approximately 100 kya is coincident with demographic change and the appearance of fully modern language. However, gaps remain in our understanding of the external pressures driving encephalization, which will only be filled by novel applications of the fossil, palaeoclimatic and archaeological records. PMID:22734056

  1. New Eocene Coleoid (Cephalopoda) Diversity from Statolith Remains: Taxonomic Assignation, Fossil Record Analysis, and New Data for Calibrating Molecular Phylogenies

    PubMed Central

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

    New coleoid cephalopods are described from statolith remains from the Middle Eocene (Middle Lutetian) of the Paris Basin. Fifteen fossil statoliths are identified and assigned to the Sepiidae (Sepia boletzkyi sp. nov.,? Sepia pira sp. nov.), Loliginidae (Loligo clarkei sp. nov.), and Ommastrephidae (genus indet.) families. The sediments containing these fossils indicate permanent aquatic settings in the infralittoral domain. These sediments range in age from 46 Mya to 43 Mya. Analysis of the fossil record of statoliths (from findings described here, together with a review of previously published data) indicates marked biases in our knowledge. Fossil statoliths are known from as far back as the Early Jurassic (199.3 to 190.8 Mya) but surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, no record occurs in the Cretaceous. This is a “knowledge bias” and clearly calls for further studies. Finally, we attempt to compare findings described here with fossils previously used to constrain divergence and/or diversification ages of some coleoid subclades in molecular phylogenies. This comparison clearly indicates that the new records detailed here will challenge some estimated divergence times of coleoid cephalopod subclades. PMID:27192490

  2. New Eocene Coleoid (Cephalopoda) Diversity from Statolith Remains: Taxonomic Assignation, Fossil Record Analysis, and New Data for Calibrating Molecular Phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

    New coleoid cephalopods are described from statolith remains from the Middle Eocene (Middle Lutetian) of the Paris Basin. Fifteen fossil statoliths are identified and assigned to the Sepiidae (Sepia boletzkyi sp. nov.,? Sepia pira sp. nov.), Loliginidae (Loligo clarkei sp. nov.), and Ommastrephidae (genus indet.) families. The sediments containing these fossils indicate permanent aquatic settings in the infralittoral domain. These sediments range in age from 46 Mya to 43 Mya. Analysis of the fossil record of statoliths (from findings described here, together with a review of previously published data) indicates marked biases in our knowledge. Fossil statoliths are known from as far back as the Early Jurassic (199.3 to 190.8 Mya) but surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, no record occurs in the Cretaceous. This is a "knowledge bias" and clearly calls for further studies. Finally, we attempt to compare findings described here with fossils previously used to constrain divergence and/or diversification ages of some coleoid subclades in molecular phylogenies. This comparison clearly indicates that the new records detailed here will challenge some estimated divergence times of coleoid cephalopod subclades.

  3. New Eocene Coleoid (Cephalopoda) Diversity from Statolith Remains: Taxonomic Assignation, Fossil Record Analysis, and New Data for Calibrating Molecular Phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

    New coleoid cephalopods are described from statolith remains from the Middle Eocene (Middle Lutetian) of the Paris Basin. Fifteen fossil statoliths are identified and assigned to the Sepiidae (Sepia boletzkyi sp. nov.,? Sepia pira sp. nov.), Loliginidae (Loligo clarkei sp. nov.), and Ommastrephidae (genus indet.) families. The sediments containing these fossils indicate permanent aquatic settings in the infralittoral domain. These sediments range in age from 46 Mya to 43 Mya. Analysis of the fossil record of statoliths (from findings described here, together with a review of previously published data) indicates marked biases in our knowledge. Fossil statoliths are known from as far back as the Early Jurassic (199.3 to 190.8 Mya) but surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, no record occurs in the Cretaceous. This is a "knowledge bias" and clearly calls for further studies. Finally, we attempt to compare findings described here with fossils previously used to constrain divergence and/or diversification ages of some coleoid subclades in molecular phylogenies. This comparison clearly indicates that the new records detailed here will challenge some estimated divergence times of coleoid cephalopod subclades. PMID:27192490

  4. Proterozoic events recorded in quartzite cobbles at Jack Hills, Western Australia: New constraints on sedimentation and source of > 4 Ga zircons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grange, Marion L.; Wilde, Simon A.; Nemchin, Alexander A.; Pidgeon, Robert T.

    2010-03-01

    Rare heavy mineral bands within quartzite cobbles were identified in two conglomerate units within the Jack Hills belt, Western Australia. Seven zircon-bearing cobbles were analysed from one location (site 152) and three from another (site 154), both approximately 1 km west of the site where zircons in excess of 4 Ga are abundant (W74 'discovery' site). Individual pebbles from the 152 site reveal three distinctive features, containing either zircons > 3.0 Ga in age, < 1.9 Ga in age or a range of ages from ˜ 1.2 to ˜ 3.6 Ga. Those from site 154 are more uniform, containing only zircons with ages between 3.1 and 3.9 Ga. Only one grain > 4 Ga was discovered from the entire suite of pebbles, in contrast to the well-studied W74 site. A single detrital zircon with an age of 1220 ± 42 Ma from location 152 is the youngest grain so far reported from sedimentary rocks at Jack Hills. It shows magmatic oscillatory zoning and thus implies at least two sedimentary cycles within the Proterozoic; requiring erosion of an igneous precursor, incorporation into a clastic sediment, induration and subsequent erosion and transport to be hosted in the conglomerate. The nearest source for rocks of this age is the Bangemall Supergroup in the Collier Basin, ˜ 100 km northeast in the Capricorn Orogen. This would imply tectonic interleaving of originally more extensive Bangemall rocks, possibly related to activity along the Cargarah Shear Zone that traverses the Jack Hills belt. The lack of > 4.1 Ga zircons in the pebbles is highly significant, suggesting the immediate source of ancient zircons was no longer present at the Earth's surface. This equates with a general lack of ancient crystals noted in rocks that contain Proterozoic zircons from previous studies and implies that such grains diminish in number as earlier sedimentary rocks were successively recycled.

  5. Recording of climate and diagenesis through sedimentary DNA and fossil pigments at Laguna Potrok Aike, Argentina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vuillemin, Aurèle; Ariztegui, Daniel; Leavitt, Peter R.; Bunting, Lynda; The Pasado Science Team

    2016-04-01

    Aquatic sediments record past climatic conditions while providing a wide range of ecological niches for microorganisms. In theory, benthic microbial community composition should depend on environmental features and geochemical conditions of surrounding sediments, as well as ontogeny of the subsurface environment as sediment degraded. In principle, DNA in sediments should be composed of ancient and extant microbial elements persisting at different degrees of preservation, although to date few studies have quantified the relative influence of each factor in regulating final composition of total sedimentary DNA assemblage. Here geomicrobiological and phylogenetic analyses of a Patagonian maar lake were used to indicate that the different sedimentary microbial assemblages derive from specific lacustrine regimes during defined climatic periods. Two climatic intervals (Mid-Holocene, 5 ka BP; Last Glacial Maximum, 25 ka BP) whose sediments harbored active microbial populations were sampled for a comparative environmental study based on fossil pigments and 16S rRNA gene sequences. The genetic assemblage recovered from the Holocene record revealed a microbial community displaying metabolic complementarities that allowed prolonged degradation of organic matter to methane. The series of Archaea identified throughout the Holocene record indicated an age-related stratification of these populations brought on by environmental selection during early diagenesis. These characteristics were associated with sediments resulting from endorheic lake conditions and stable pelagic regime, high evaporative stress and concomitant high algal productivity. In contrast, sulphate-reducing bacteria and lithotrophic Archaea were predominant in sediments dated from the Last Glacial Maximum, in which pelagic clays alternated with fine volcanic material characteristic of a lake level highstand and freshwater conditions, but reduced water column productivity. Comparison of sedimentary DNA composition

  6. Two new fossil genera and species of Cerocephalinae (Hymenoptera, Chalcidoidea, Pteromalidae), including the first record from the Eocene

    PubMed Central

    Bläser, Marcel; Krogmann, Lars; Peters, Ralph S.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Cerocephalinae (Chalcidoidea, Pteromalidae) is a small group of parasitoid wasps characterized by a number of derived diagnostic features. Their hosts are endophytic beetles. So far, 43 species of Cerocephalinae have been described, including one fossil species from the Miocene. In this study, we add two new genera and species from Baltic and Dominican amber to the fossil record. Tenuicornus dominicus gen. et sp. n. is the second genus described from Dominican amber, and Pteropilosa lailarabanorum gen. et sp. n., described from Baltic amber, represents the oldest record of the subfamily, pushing the minimum age of Cerocephalinae back to the Eocene. Diagnostic characters of both species are discussed in comparison with other Cerocephalinae. An updated key to extant and fossil Cerocephalinae is presented. PMID:26798296

  7. Fossil spiders.

    PubMed

    Selden, Paul A; Penney, David

    2010-02-01

    Over the last three decades, the fossil record of spiders has increased from being previously biased towards Tertiary ambers and a few dubious earlier records, to one which reveals a much greater diversity in the Mesozoic, with many of the modern families present in that era, and with clearer evidence of the evolutionary history of the group. We here record the history of palaeoarachnology and the major breakthroughs which form the basis of studies on fossil spiders. Understanding the preservation and taphonomic history of spider fossils is crucial to interpretation of fossil spider morphology. We also review the more recent descriptions of fossil spiders and the effect these discoveries have had on the phylogenetic tree of spiders. We discuss some features of the evolutionary history of spiders and present ideas for future work.

  8. Introducing Evolution to Non-Biology Majors via the Fossil Record: A Case Study from the Israeli High School System.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dodick, Jeff; Orion, Nir

    2003-01-01

    Discusses challenges faced in the teaching and learning of evolution. Presents a curricular program and a case study on evolutionary biology. Investigates students' conceptual knowledge after exposure to the program "From Dinosaurs to Darwin," which focuses on fossil records as evidence of evolution. (Contains 32 references.) (YDS)

  9. Piscivory in a Miocene Cetotheriidae of Peru: first record of fossilized stomach content for an extinct baleen-bearing whale.

    PubMed

    Collareta, Alberto; Landini, Walter; Lambert, Olivier; Post, Klaas; Tinelli, Chiara; Di Celma, Claudio; Panetta, Daniele; Tripodi, Maria; Salvadori, Piero A; Caramella, Davide; Marchi, Damiano; Urbina, Mario; Bianucci, Giovanni

    2015-12-01

    Instead of teeth, modern mysticetes bear hair-fringed keratinous baleen plates that permit various bulk-filtering predation techniques (from subsurface skimming to lateral benthic suction and engulfment) devoted to various target prey (from small invertebrates to schooling fish). Current knowledge about the feeding ecology of extant cetaceans is revealed by stomach content analyses and observations of behavior. Unfortunately, no fossil stomach contents of ancient mysticetes have been described so far; the investigation of the diet of fossil baleen whales, including the Neogene family Cetotheriidae, remains thus largely speculative. We report on an aggregate of fossil fish remains found within a mysticete skeleton belonging to an undescribed late Miocene (Tortonian) cetotheriid from the Pisco Formation (Peru). Micro-computed tomography allowed us to interpret it as the fossilized content of the forestomach of the host whale and to identify the prey as belonging to the extant clupeiform genus Sardinops. Our discovery represents the first direct evidence of piscivory in an ancient edentulous mysticete. Since among modern mysticetes only Balaenopteridae are known to ordinarily consume fish, this fossil record may indicate that part of the cetotheriids experimented some degree of balaenopterid-like engulfment feeding. Moreover, this report corresponds to one of the geologically oldest records of Sardinops worldwide, occurring near the Tortonian peak of oceanic primary productivity and cooling phase. Therefore, our discovery evokes a link between the rise of Cetotheriidae; the setup of modern coastal upwelling systems; and the radiation of epipelagic, small-sized, schooling clupeiform fish in such highly productive environments.

  10. Piscivory in a Miocene Cetotheriidae of Peru: first record of fossilized stomach content for an extinct baleen-bearing whale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Collareta, Alberto; Landini, Walter; Lambert, Olivier; Post, Klaas; Tinelli, Chiara; Di Celma, Claudio; Panetta, Daniele; Tripodi, Maria; Salvadori, Piero A.; Caramella, Davide; Marchi, Damiano; Urbina, Mario; Bianucci, Giovanni

    2015-12-01

    Instead of teeth, modern mysticetes bear hair-fringed keratinous baleen plates that permit various bulk-filtering predation techniques (from subsurface skimming to lateral benthic suction and engulfment) devoted to various target prey (from small invertebrates to schooling fish). Current knowledge about the feeding ecology of extant cetaceans is revealed by stomach content analyses and observations of behavior. Unfortunately, no fossil stomach contents of ancient mysticetes have been described so far; the investigation of the diet of fossil baleen whales, including the Neogene family Cetotheriidae, remains thus largely speculative. We report on an aggregate of fossil fish remains found within a mysticete skeleton belonging to an undescribed late Miocene (Tortonian) cetotheriid from the Pisco Formation (Peru). Micro-computed tomography allowed us to interpret it as the fossilized content of the forestomach of the host whale and to identify the prey as belonging to the extant clupeiform genus Sardinops. Our discovery represents the first direct evidence of piscivory in an ancient edentulous mysticete. Since among modern mysticetes only Balaenopteridae are known to ordinarily consume fish, this fossil record may indicate that part of the cetotheriids experimented some degree of balaenopterid-like engulfment feeding. Moreover, this report corresponds to one of the geologically oldest records of Sardinops worldwide, occurring near the Tortonian peak of oceanic primary productivity and cooling phase. Therefore, our discovery evokes a link between the rise of Cetotheriidae; the setup of modern coastal upwelling systems; and the radiation of epipelagic, small-sized, schooling clupeiform fish in such highly productive environments.

  11. Proterozoic ocean redox and biogeochemical stasis

    PubMed Central

    Reinhard, Christopher T.; Planavsky, Noah J.; Robbins, Leslie J.; Partin, Camille A.; Gill, Benjamin C.; Lalonde, Stefan V.; Bekker, Andrey; Konhauser, Kurt O.; Lyons, Timothy W.

    2013-01-01

    The partial pressure of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere has increased dramatically through time, and this increase is thought to have occurred in two rapid steps at both ends of the Proterozoic Eon (∼2.5–0.543 Ga). However, the trajectory and mechanisms of Earth’s oxygenation are still poorly constrained, and little is known regarding attendant changes in ocean ventilation and seafloor redox. We have a particularly poor understanding of ocean chemistry during the mid-Proterozoic (∼1.8–0.8 Ga). Given the coupling between redox-sensitive trace element cycles and planktonic productivity, various models for mid-Proterozoic ocean chemistry imply different effects on the biogeochemical cycling of major and trace nutrients, with potential ecological constraints on emerging eukaryotic life. Here, we exploit the differing redox behavior of molybdenum and chromium to provide constraints on seafloor redox evolution by coupling a large database of sedimentary metal enrichments to a mass balance model that includes spatially variant metal burial rates. We find that the metal enrichment record implies a Proterozoic deep ocean characterized by pervasive anoxia relative to the Phanerozoic (at least ∼30–40% of modern seafloor area) but a relatively small extent of euxinic (anoxic and sulfidic) seafloor (less than ∼1–10% of modern seafloor area). Our model suggests that the oceanic Mo reservoir is extremely sensitive to perturbations in the extent of sulfidic seafloor and that the record of Mo and chromium enrichments through time is consistent with the possibility of a Mo–N colimited marine biosphere during many periods of Earth’s history. PMID:23515332

  12. Proterozoic ocean redox and biogeochemical stasis.

    PubMed

    Reinhard, Christopher T; Planavsky, Noah J; Robbins, Leslie J; Partin, Camille A; Gill, Benjamin C; Lalonde, Stefan V; Bekker, Andrey; Konhauser, Kurt O; Lyons, Timothy W

    2013-04-01

    The partial pressure of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere has increased dramatically through time, and this increase is thought to have occurred in two rapid steps at both ends of the Proterozoic Eon (∼2.5-0.543 Ga). However, the trajectory and mechanisms of Earth's oxygenation are still poorly constrained, and little is known regarding attendant changes in ocean ventilation and seafloor redox. We have a particularly poor understanding of ocean chemistry during the mid-Proterozoic (∼1.8-0.8 Ga). Given the coupling between redox-sensitive trace element cycles and planktonic productivity, various models for mid-Proterozoic ocean chemistry imply different effects on the biogeochemical cycling of major and trace nutrients, with potential ecological constraints on emerging eukaryotic life. Here, we exploit the differing redox behavior of molybdenum and chromium to provide constraints on seafloor redox evolution by coupling a large database of sedimentary metal enrichments to a mass balance model that includes spatially variant metal burial rates. We find that the metal enrichment record implies a Proterozoic deep ocean characterized by pervasive anoxia relative to the Phanerozoic (at least ∼30-40% of modern seafloor area) but a relatively small extent of euxinic (anoxic and sulfidic) seafloor (less than ∼1-10% of modern seafloor area). Our model suggests that the oceanic Mo reservoir is extremely sensitive to perturbations in the extent of sulfidic seafloor and that the record of Mo and chromium enrichments through time is consistent with the possibility of a Mo-N colimited marine biosphere during many periods of Earth's history.

  13. A multi-calibrated mitochondrial phylogeny of extant Bovidae (Artiodactyla, Ruminantia) and the importance of the fossil record to systematics

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Molecular phylogenetics has provided unprecedented resolution in the ruminant evolutionary tree. However, molecular age estimates using only one or a few (often misapplied) fossil calibration points have produced a diversity of conflicting ages for important evolutionary events within this clade. I here identify 16 fossil calibration points of relevance to the phylogeny of Bovidae and Ruminantia and use these, individually and together, to construct a dated molecular phylogeny through a reanalysis of the full mitochondrial genome of over 100 ruminant species. Results The new multi-calibrated tree provides ages that are younger overall than found in previous studies. Among these are young ages for the origin of crown Ruminantia (39.3–28.8 Ma), and crown Bovidae (17.3–15.1 Ma). These are argued to be reasonable hypotheses given that many basal fossils assigned to these taxa may in fact lie on the stem groups leading to the crown clades, thus inflating previous age estimates. Areas of conflict between molecular and fossil dates do persist, however, especially with regard to the base of the rapid Pecoran radiation and the sister relationship of Moschidae to Bovidae. Results of the single-calibrated analyses also show that a very wide range of molecular age estimates are obtainable using different calibration points, and that the choice of calibration point can influence the topology of the resulting tree. Compared to the single-calibrated trees, the multi-calibrated tree exhibits smaller variance in estimated ages and better reflects the fossil record. Conclusions The use of a large number of vetted fossil calibration points with soft bounds is promoted as a better approach than using just one or a few calibrations, or relying on internal-congruency metrics to discard good fossil data. This study also highlights the importance of considering morphological and ecological characteristics of clades when delimiting higher taxa. I also illustrate how

  14. Anatomical Correlates to Nectar Feeding among the Strepsirrhines of Madagascar: Implications for Interpreting the Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Muchlinski, Magdalena N.; Perry, Jonathan M. G.

    2011-01-01

    One possible ecological scenario for the origin of primates is the archaic pollination and coevolution hypothesis. Its proponents contend that the consumption of nectar by some early primates and the resulting cross-pollination is an example of coevolution that drove adaptive radiations in some primates. This hypothesis is perhaps ecologically sound, but it lacks the morphology-behavior links that would allow us to test it using the fossil record. Here we attempt to identify cranial adaptations to nectar feeding among the strepsirrhines of Madagascar in order to provide such links. Many Malagasy strepsirrhines are considered effective cross-pollinators of the flowers they feed from, and nectar consumption represents as much as 75% of total feeding time. Previous studies identified skeletal correlates to nectar feeding in the crania of nonprimate mammals; from these, nine cranial measurements were chosen to be the focus of the present study. Results indicate that Cheirogaleus, Varecia, and Eulemur mirror other nectar-feeding mammals in having elongated crania and/or muzzles. These strepsirrhines might be effective cross-pollinators, lending support to the coevolution hypothesis. PMID:22567292

  15. Review of the monotreme fossil record and comparison of palaeontological and molecular data.

    PubMed

    Musser, A M

    2003-12-01

    Monotremes have traditionally been considered a remnant group of mammals descended from archaic Mesozoic stock, surviving to the present day on the relatively isolated Australian continent. Challenges to this orthodoxy have been spurred by discoveries of 'advanced' Cretaceous monotremes (Steropodon galmani, Archer, M., et al., 1985. First Mesozoic mammal from Australia-an Early Cretaceous monotreme, Nature. 318, 363-366) as well as by results from molecular data linking monotremes to therian mammals (specifically to marsupials in some studies). This paper reviews the monotreme fossil record and briefly discusses significant new information from additional Cretaceous Australian material. Mesozoic monotremes (including S. galmani) were a diverse group as evidenced by new material from the Early Cretaceous of New South Wales and Victoria currently under study. Although most of these new finds are edentulous jaws (limiting dental comparisons and determination of dietary niches), a range of sizes and forms has been determined. Some of these Cretaceous jaws exhibit archaic features-in particular evidence for the presence of a splenial bone in S. galmani-not seen in therian mammals or in post-Mesozoic (Tertiary and Quaternary) monotreme taxa. Tertiary monotremes were either archaic ornithorhynchids (toothed platypuses in the genera Monotrematum and Obdurodon) or tachyglossids (large echidnas in the genera Megalibgwilia and Zaglossus). Quaternary ornithorhynchid material is referable to the sole living platypus species Ornithorhynchus anatinus. Quaternary echidnas, however, were moderately diverse and several forms are known (Megalibgwilia species; 'Zaglossus' hacketti; Zaglossus species and Tachyglossus aculeatus).

  16. First forensic records of termite activity on non-fossilized human bones in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Queiroz, R A; Soriano, E P; Carvalho, M V D; Caldas-Junior, A F; Souza, E H A; Coelho-Junior, L G T M; Campello, R I C; Almeida, A C; Farias, R C A P; Vasconcellos, A

    2016-07-25

    The aim of this study was to describe the first records of termite activity on non-fossilized human bones in Brazil. The cases reported in this study resulted from forensic analysis of six human skeletons found in northeastern Brazil between 2012 and 2014. Traces of tunnels and nests commonly produced by termites were found on several human bone surfaces as well as the specimens and characteristic signs of osteophagic activity. In four cases, the species were identified: Amitermes amifer Silvestri, 1901, Nasutitermes corniger (Motschulsky, 1855) (on two skeletons), and Microcerotermes indistinctus Mathews, 1977. In two other cases, the activity of termites on bone surfaces was evidenced by remains of nests and tunnels produced by these insects. At least in the samples of human remains available for this report, the number of termites collected was greater on bones found during autumn, the rainy season in the Northeast of Brazil. The human bones examined showed termites like insects with lots of strength at bone degradation, capable of continuing the process of decomposition of human remains even in completely skeletonized bodies. PMID:27463832

  17. First forensic records of termite activity on non-fossilized human bones in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Queiroz, R A; Soriano, E P; Carvalho, M V D; Caldas-Junior, A F; Souza, E H A; Coelho-Junior, L G T M; Campello, R I C; Almeida, A C; Farias, R C A P; Vasconcellos, A

    2016-07-25

    The aim of this study was to describe the first records of termite activity on non-fossilized human bones in Brazil. The cases reported in this study resulted from forensic analysis of six human skeletons found in northeastern Brazil between 2012 and 2014. Traces of tunnels and nests commonly produced by termites were found on several human bone surfaces as well as the specimens and characteristic signs of osteophagic activity. In four cases, the species were identified: Amitermes amifer Silvestri, 1901, Nasutitermes corniger (Motschulsky, 1855) (on two skeletons), and Microcerotermes indistinctus Mathews, 1977. In two other cases, the activity of termites on bone surfaces was evidenced by remains of nests and tunnels produced by these insects. At least in the samples of human remains available for this report, the number of termites collected was greater on bones found during autumn, the rainy season in the Northeast of Brazil. The human bones examined showed termites like insects with lots of strength at bone degradation, capable of continuing the process of decomposition of human remains even in completely skeletonized bodies.

  18. Climate refugia: joint inference from fossil records, species distribution models and phylogeography.

    PubMed

    Gavin, Daniel G; Fitzpatrick, Matthew C; Gugger, Paul F; Heath, Katy D; Rodríguez-Sánchez, Francisco; Dobrowski, Solomon Z; Hampe, Arndt; Hu, Feng Sheng; Ashcroft, Michael B; Bartlein, Patrick J; Blois, Jessica L; Carstens, Bryan C; Davis, Edward B; de Lafontaine, Guillaume; Edwards, Mary E; Fernandez, Matias; Henne, Paul D; Herring, Erin M; Holden, Zachary A; Kong, Woo-seok; Liu, Jianquan; Magri, Donatella; Matzke, Nicholas J; McGlone, Matt S; Saltré, Frédérik; Stigall, Alycia L; Tsai, Yi-Hsin Erica; Williams, John W

    2014-10-01

    Climate refugia, locations where taxa survive periods of regionally adverse climate, are thought to be critical for maintaining biodiversity through the glacial-interglacial climate changes of the Quaternary. A critical research need is to better integrate and reconcile the three major lines of evidence used to infer the existence of past refugia - fossil records, species distribution models and phylogeographic surveys - in order to characterize the complex spatiotemporal trajectories of species and populations in and out of refugia. Here we review the complementary strengths, limitations and new advances for these three approaches. We provide case studies to illustrate their combined application, and point the way towards new opportunities for synthesizing these disparate lines of evidence. Case studies with European beech, Qinghai spruce and Douglas-fir illustrate how the combination of these three approaches successfully resolves complex species histories not attainable from any one approach. Promising new statistical techniques can capitalize on the strengths of each method and provide a robust quantitative reconstruction of species history. Studying past refugia can help identify contemporary refugia and clarify their conservation significance, in particular by elucidating the fine-scale processes and the particular geographic locations that buffer species against rapidly changing climate.

  19. Species-energy relationship in the deep sea: A test using the Quaternary fossil record

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hunt, G.; Cronin, T. M.; Roy, K.

    2005-01-01

    Little is known about the processes regulating species richness in deep-sea communities. Here we take advantage of natural experiments involving climate change to test whether predictions of the species-energy hypothesis hold in the deep sea. In addition, we test for the relationship between temperature and species richness predicted by a recent model based on biochemical kinetics of metabolism. Using the deep-sea fossil record of benthic foraminifera and statistical meta-analyses of temperature-richness and productivity-richness relationships in 10 deep-sea cores, we show that temperature but not productivity is a significant predictor of species richness over the past c. 130 000 years. Our results not only show that the temperature-richness relationship in the deep-sea is remarkably similar to that found in terrestrial and shallow marine habitats, but also that species richness tracks temperature change over geological time, at least on scales of c. 100 000 years. Thus, predicting biotic response to global climate change in the deep sea would require better understanding of how temperature regulates the occurrences and geographical ranges of species. ??2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  20. Colloquium paper: dynamics of origination and extinction in the marine fossil record.

    PubMed

    Alroy, John

    2008-08-12

    The discipline-wide effort to database the fossil record at the occurrence level has made it possible to estimate marine invertebrate extinction and origination rates with much greater accuracy. The new data show that two biotic mechanisms have hastened recoveries from mass extinctions and confined diversity to a relatively narrow range over the past 500 million years (Myr). First, a drop in diversity of any size correlates with low extinction rates immediately afterward, so much so that extinction would almost come to a halt if diversity dropped by 90%. Second, very high extinction rates are followed by equally high origination rates. The two relationships predict that the rebound from the current mass extinction will take at least 10 Myr, and perhaps 40 Myr if it rivals the Permo-Triassic catastrophe. Regardless, any large event will result in a dramatic ecological and taxonomic restructuring of the biosphere. The data also confirm that extinction and origination rates both declined through the Phanerozoic and that several extinctions in addition to the Permo-Triassic event were particularly severe. However, the trend may be driven by taxonomic biases and the rates vary in accord with a simple log normal distribution, so there is no sharp distinction between background and mass extinctions. Furthermore, the lack of any significant autocorrelation in the data is inconsistent with macroevolutionary theories of periodicity or self-organized criticality. PMID:18695240

  1. Fossil bryophytes as recorders of ancient CO2 levels: Experimental evidence and a Cretaceous case study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fletcher, Benjamin J.; Beerling, David J.; Brentnall, Stuart J.; Royer, Dana L.

    2005-09-01

    Biological and geochemical CO2 proxies provide critical constraints on understanding the role of atmospheric CO2 in driving climate change during Earth history. As no single existing CO2 proxy is without its limitations, there is a clear need for new approaches to reconstructing past CO2 concentrations. Here we develop a new pre-Quaternary CO2 proxy based on the stable carbon isotope composition (δ13C) of astomatous land plants. In a series of CO2-controlled laboratory experiments, we show that the carbon isotope discrimination (Δ13C) of a range of bryophyte (liverwort and moss) species increases with atmospheric CO2 across the range 375 to 6000 ppm. Separate experiments establish that variations in growth temperature, water content and substrate type have minor impacts on the Δ13C of liverworts but not mosses, indicating the greater potential of liverworts to faithfully record past variations in CO2. A mechanistic model for calculating past CO2 concentrations from bryophyte Δ13C (White et al., 1994) is extended and calibrated using our experimental results. The potential for fossil liverworts to record past CO2 changes is investigated by analyzing the δ13C of specimens collected from Alexander Island, Antarctica dating to the "greenhouse" world of the mid-Cretaceous. Our analysis and isotopic model yield mid-Cretaceous CO2 concentrations of 1000-1400 ppm, in general agreement with independent proxy data and long-term carbon cycle models. The exceptionally long evolutionary history of bryophytes offers the possibility of reconstructing CO2 concentrations back to the mid-Ordovician, pre-dating all currently used quantitative CO2 proxies.

  2. Recording of climate and diagenesis through fossil pigments and sedimentary DNA at Laguna Potrok Aike, Argentina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vuillemin, A.; Ariztegui, D.; Leavitt, P. R.; Bunting, L.; Pasado Science Team

    2015-11-01

    Aquatic sediments record past climatic conditions while providing a wide range of ecological niches for microorganisms. Although marine sedimentary microbial assemblages are often defined by their surrounding geochemical conditions, the influence of environmental features upon microbial development and post-depositional survival remains largely unknown in the lacustrine realm. Due to long-term microbial activity, the composition of environmental DNA can be expected to evolve with sediment depth and over time and therefore should reflect both ancient and extant microbial populations, but this hypothesis has rarely been tested using a multiproxy approach. Here geomicrobiological and phylogenetic analyses of a Patagonian maar lake were used to indicate that the different sedimentary microbial assemblages derive from specific lacustrine regimes during defined climatic periods. Two well defined climatic intervals whose sediments harboured active microbial populations and measurable ATP were sampled for a comparative environmental study based on fossil pigments and 16S rRNA gene sequences. Bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences recovered from the Holocene record revealed a microbial community adapted to subsaline conditions actively producing methane during organic matter degradation. These characteristics were associated with sediments resulting from endorheic lake conditions with high evaporative stress and concomitant high algal productivity. Moreover, archaeal clone libraries established throughout the Holocene record indicate an age-related stratification of these populations, consistent with a gradual use of organic substrates after deposition. In contrast, sulphate-reducing bacteria and lithotrophic Archaea were predominant in sediments dated from the Last Glacial Maximum, in which pelagic clays alternated with fine volcanic material characteristic of a lake level highstand and freshwater conditions, but reduced water column productivity. These patterns

  3. Decay of vertebrate characters in hagfish and lamprey (Cyclostomata) and the implications for the vertebrate fossil record.

    PubMed

    Sansom, Robert S; Gabbott, Sarah E; Purnell, Mark A

    2011-04-22

    The timing and sequence of events underlying the origin and early evolution of vertebrates remains poorly understood. The palaeontological evidence should shed light on these issues, but difficulties in interpretation of the non-biomineralized fossil record make this problematic. Here we present an experimental analysis of decay of vertebrate characters based on the extant jawless vertebrates (Lampetra and Myxine). This provides a framework for the interpretation of the anatomy of soft-bodied fossil vertebrates and putative cyclostomes, and a context for reading the fossil record of non-biomineralized vertebrate characters. Decay results in transformation and non-random loss of characters. In both lamprey and hagfish, different types of cartilage decay at different rates, resulting in taphonomic bias towards loss of 'soft' cartilages containing vertebrate-specific Col2α1 extracellular matrix proteins; phylogenetically informative soft-tissue characters decay before more plesiomorphic characters. As such, synapomorphic decay bias, previously recognized in early chordates, is more pervasive, and needs to be taken into account when interpreting the anatomy of any non-biomineralized fossil vertebrate, such as Haikouichthys, Mayomyzon and Hardistiella.

  4. Egg size evolution in tropical American arcid bivalves: the comparative method and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Moran, Amy L

    2004-12-01

    Marine organisms exhibit a wide range of egg sizes, even among closely related taxa, and egg size is widely considered to be one of the most important components of the life histories of marine species. The nature of the trade-off between egg size and number and the consequences of variation in egg size for offspring growth and survivorship have been extensively modeled. Yet, there is little empirical evidence that supports the relative importance of particular environmental parameters in engendering the tremendous variation in egg size seen in marine organisms. This study compares egg sizes between six geminate species pairs of bivalves in the family Arcidae to determine whether egg size differs in predictable directions between geminate species in the two oceans separated by the Central American isthmus, and whether the direction and timing of egg size evolution among geminates in this family is correlated with both modern and paleoceanographic patterns of oceanic productivity. In all modern members of six geminate pairs, egg size was larger in the species in the western Atlantic than in its sister species the eastern Pacific. This pattern supports the hypothesis that optimal egg size differs in the two oceans due to the low productivity and poor larval feeding environment in the western Atlantic relative to the eastern Pacific. The fossil record of one geminate pair shows that egg size has remained consistently large in the western Atlantic from the Miocene to the Recent, while egg size in the eastern Pacific has decreased to the current small size in less than 2 million years; this suggests that modern-day differences between egg sizes in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific are due to either an increase in productivity in the eastern Pacific and subsequent selection for smaller eggs in that ocean, or differential patterns of extinction that occurred well after the rise of the isthmus. These results agree with ancestral character state reconstruction using

  5. Palaeontology: The Point of No Return in the Fossil Record of Eusociality.

    PubMed

    Rust, Jes; Wappler, Torsten

    2016-02-22

    The evolution of eusociality is one of the major transitions in the history of life, particularly in the insects. Now, fossil termites and ants from Burmese amber offer insights into early stages of eusociality in the Lower Cretaceous.

  6. Palaeontology: The Point of No Return in the Fossil Record of Eusociality.

    PubMed

    Rust, Jes; Wappler, Torsten

    2016-02-22

    The evolution of eusociality is one of the major transitions in the history of life, particularly in the insects. Now, fossil termites and ants from Burmese amber offer insights into early stages of eusociality in the Lower Cretaceous. PMID:26906485

  7. A long-term association between global temperature and biodiversity, origination and extinction in the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Mayhew, Peter J; Jenkins, Gareth B; Benton, Timothy G

    2007-01-01

    The past relationship between global temperature and levels of biological diversity is of increasing concern due to anthropogenic climate warming. However, no consistent link between these variables has yet been demonstrated. We analysed the fossil record for the last 520 Myr against estimates of low latitude sea surface temperature for the same period. We found that global biodiversity (the richness of families and genera) is related to temperature and has been relatively low during warm ‘greenhouse’ phases, while during the same phases extinction and origination rates of taxonomic lineages have been relatively high. These findings are consistent for terrestrial and marine environments and are robust to a number of alternative assumptions and potential biases. Our results provide the first clear evidence that global climate may explain substantial variation in the fossil record in a simple and consistent manner. Our findings may have implications for extinction and biodiversity change under future climate warming. PMID:17956842

  8. Piscivory in a Miocene Cetotheriidae of Peru: first record of fossilized stomach content for an extinct baleen-bearing whale.

    PubMed

    Collareta, Alberto; Landini, Walter; Lambert, Olivier; Post, Klaas; Tinelli, Chiara; Di Celma, Claudio; Panetta, Daniele; Tripodi, Maria; Salvadori, Piero A; Caramella, Davide; Marchi, Damiano; Urbina, Mario; Bianucci, Giovanni

    2015-12-01

    Instead of teeth, modern mysticetes bear hair-fringed keratinous baleen plates that permit various bulk-filtering predation techniques (from subsurface skimming to lateral benthic suction and engulfment) devoted to various target prey (from small invertebrates to schooling fish). Current knowledge about the feeding ecology of extant cetaceans is revealed by stomach content analyses and observations of behavior. Unfortunately, no fossil stomach contents of ancient mysticetes have been described so far; the investigation of the diet of fossil baleen whales, including the Neogene family Cetotheriidae, remains thus largely speculative. We report on an aggregate of fossil fish remains found within a mysticete skeleton belonging to an undescribed late Miocene (Tortonian) cetotheriid from the Pisco Formation (Peru). Micro-computed tomography allowed us to interpret it as the fossilized content of the forestomach of the host whale and to identify the prey as belonging to the extant clupeiform genus Sardinops. Our discovery represents the first direct evidence of piscivory in an ancient edentulous mysticete. Since among modern mysticetes only Balaenopteridae are known to ordinarily consume fish, this fossil record may indicate that part of the cetotheriids experimented some degree of balaenopterid-like engulfment feeding. Moreover, this report corresponds to one of the geologically oldest records of Sardinops worldwide, occurring near the Tortonian peak of oceanic primary productivity and cooling phase. Therefore, our discovery evokes a link between the rise of Cetotheriidae; the setup of modern coastal upwelling systems; and the radiation of epipelagic, small-sized, schooling clupeiform fish in such highly productive environments. PMID:26553062

  9. †Kenyaichthyidae fam. nov. and †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. - First Record of a Fossil Aplocheiloid Killifish (Teleostei, Cyprinodontiformes).

    PubMed

    Altner, Melanie; Reichenbacher, Bettina

    2015-01-01

    The extant Cyprinodontiformes (killifishes) with their two suborders Cyprinodontoidei and Aplocheiloidei represent a diverse and well-studied group of fishes. However, their fossil record is comparatively sparse and has so far yielded members of the Cyprinodontoidei only. Here we report on cyprinodontiform fossils from the upper Miocene Lukeino Formation in the Tugen Hills of the Central Rift Valley of Kenya, which represent the first fossil record of an aplocheiloid killifish. A total of 169 specimens - mostly extraordinarily well preserved - and a sample of ten extant cyprinodontiform species were studied on the basis of morphometrics, meristics and osteology. A phylogenetic analysis using PAUP was also conducted for the fossils. Both the osteological data and the phylogenetic analysis provide strong evidence for the assignment of the fossils to the Aplocheiloidei, and justify the definition of the new family †Kenyaichthyidae, the new genus †Kenyaichthys and the new species †K. kipkechi sp. nov. The phylogenetic analysis unexpectedly places †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. in a sister relationship to the Rivulidae (a purely Neotropical group), a probable explanation might be lack of available synapomorphies for the Rivulidae, Nothobranchiidae and Aplocheilidae. The specimens of †K. kipkechi sp. nov. show several polymorphic characters and large overlap in meristic traits, which justifies their interpretation as a species flock in statu nascendi. Patterns of variation in neural and haemal spine dimensions in the caudal vertebrae of †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. and the extant species studied indicate that some previously suggested synapomorphies of the Cyprinodontoidei and Aplocheiloidei need to be revised.

  10. †Kenyaichthyidae fam. nov. and †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. - First Record of a Fossil Aplocheiloid Killifish (Teleostei, Cyprinodontiformes).

    PubMed

    Altner, Melanie; Reichenbacher, Bettina

    2015-01-01

    The extant Cyprinodontiformes (killifishes) with their two suborders Cyprinodontoidei and Aplocheiloidei represent a diverse and well-studied group of fishes. However, their fossil record is comparatively sparse and has so far yielded members of the Cyprinodontoidei only. Here we report on cyprinodontiform fossils from the upper Miocene Lukeino Formation in the Tugen Hills of the Central Rift Valley of Kenya, which represent the first fossil record of an aplocheiloid killifish. A total of 169 specimens - mostly extraordinarily well preserved - and a sample of ten extant cyprinodontiform species were studied on the basis of morphometrics, meristics and osteology. A phylogenetic analysis using PAUP was also conducted for the fossils. Both the osteological data and the phylogenetic analysis provide strong evidence for the assignment of the fossils to the Aplocheiloidei, and justify the definition of the new family †Kenyaichthyidae, the new genus †Kenyaichthys and the new species †K. kipkechi sp. nov. The phylogenetic analysis unexpectedly places †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. in a sister relationship to the Rivulidae (a purely Neotropical group), a probable explanation might be lack of available synapomorphies for the Rivulidae, Nothobranchiidae and Aplocheilidae. The specimens of †K. kipkechi sp. nov. show several polymorphic characters and large overlap in meristic traits, which justifies their interpretation as a species flock in statu nascendi. Patterns of variation in neural and haemal spine dimensions in the caudal vertebrae of †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. and the extant species studied indicate that some previously suggested synapomorphies of the Cyprinodontoidei and Aplocheiloidei need to be revised. PMID:25923654

  11. End of the Proterozoic eon.

    PubMed

    Knoll, A H

    1991-10-01

    Living organisms have inhabited the surface of our planet for nearly four billion years. Yet the plants and animals that define our everyday existence have far more recent origins. The ancestors of modern trees and terrestrial animals first colonized land only about 450 million years ago. In the oceans, animals have a longer record, but macroscopic invertebrates did not appear even there until about 580 million years ago--roughly 85 percent of the way through life's history. The earliest animals, which are collectively referred to as the Ediacaran fauna (after the Ediacara Hills in southern Australia), have intrigued paleontologists since their discovery more than 50 years ago [see "The Emergence of Animals," by Mark A. S. McMenamin; Scientific American, April 1987]. The surprisingly young age of the fossils presents a most interesting puzzle. If life is so ancient, why did animals appear so late in the evolutionary day? Why--once the basic blueprint of life was drawn--did animals not emerge for more than three billion years? Alternatively, is the fossil record misleading? Is it possible that animals are far older than the record suggests?

  12. PROTEROZOIC EUCARYOTES FROM EASTERN CALIFORNIA*

    PubMed Central

    Cloud, P. E.; Licari, G. R.; Wright, L. A.; Troxel, B. W.

    1969-01-01

    Both procaryotic and eucaryotic nannofossils occur in chert from the upper Beck Spring Dolomite (Pahrump Group) in northeastern San Bernardino County, California. These fossils include the oldest reasonably certain records to date of chlorophycean and chrysophycean algae, and hence of the eucaryotic or mitosing cell. Associated with these are cyanophycean procaryotes of still more ancient affinities. Indirect radiometric evidence implies an age of 1.2 to 1.4 aeons (1.2 to 1.4 × 109 years) for the enclosing rocks. Associated stromatolites are consistent with such an age assignment. Images PMID:16591732

  13. Ghost shrimp Calliax de Saint Laurent, 1973 (Decapoda: Axiidea: Callianassidae) in the fossil record: systematics, palaeoecology and palaeobiogeography

    PubMed Central

    HYŽNÝ, MATÚŠ; GAŠPARIČ, ROK

    2015-01-01

    Ghost shrimps of the family Callianassidae are very common in the fossil record, but mostly as isolated cheliped elements only. The assignment to biologically defined genera, diagnosed on the basis of soft part morphology, is thus rather difficult. In this respect, proxy characters present on chelipeds that are the most durable ghost shrimp remains are needed to ascribe fossil material to extant genera. The genus Calliax de Saint Laurent, 1973 has been particularly obscure in this respect. Thorough comparison of extant members of the genus resulted in evaluation of characters present on chelipeds being taxonomically important on the genus level, specifically: 1) rectangular major P1 propodus with two ridges on the base of the fixed finger extending onto manus; 2) major P1 fingers relatively short; and 3) minor P1 chela with dactylus longer than fixed finger and possessing a wide gap between fingers. On this basis, Callianassa michelottii A. Milne Edwards, 1860, from the Oligocene and Miocene of Europe is herein reassigned to Calliax. Further re-examination of the ghost shrimp fossil record revealed that C. szobensis Müller, 1984, from the Middle Miocene of Hungary represents the same animal as C. michelottii and they are synomymised herein. The known geographic distribution of C. michelottii is expanded by the first confirmed occurrence of the species in Slovakia. All occurrences of C. michelottii known to date are reviewed and documented. The presence of Calliax michelottii comb. nov. may be considered an indicator of deeper marine settings. Based on the scarce fossil record known to date, Calliax has a Tethyan origin; it supposedly migrated westward to establish present day communities in the Caribbean sometime before the Middle Miocene. PMID:24989725

  14. Molecular and isotopic composition of lipids in modern and fossil bivalve shells: Records of paleoenvironmental change?

    SciTech Connect

    CoBabe, E.A.

    1995-12-31

    Suites of lipids residing in situ in modern and fossil bivalve shells offer new possibilities for the study of paleoecology and paleoclimatology. Distributions of carbon isotopic compositions of modem shell lipids suggests that many of these compounds, including alkanes, sterols, fatty acids, ketones and phytadienes, are derived from the bivalves and not directly from the surrounding environment. The occurrence of fatty acids in modem and fossil shell material opens up the possibility that saturation levels of these compounds may be used as paleothermometers. To date, the utility of fatty acids in paleoclimate studies has been limited because of the swift breakdown of these compounds in sediment. However, initial results indicate that fatty acids in bivalve shells retain their original structure for at least several million years. Comparison of modem bivalve shell fatty acids from tropical, temperate and polar nearshore marine systems will be presented, along with analogous fossil data.

  15. Two Years of Plankton Tows in a Seasonal Upwelling Region: Foraminiferal Abundances and Implications for the Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davis, C. V.; Hill, T. M.; Jahncke, J.

    2014-12-01

    Planktic foraminifera have a long history of use as paleoceaographic proxies due to their environmental sensitivity, cosmopolitan distribution and extensive fossil record. The seasonal, spatial and water mass affinities of foraminifera species have implications for the interpretation of fossil assemblages and the interpretation of shell geochemistry. Two years (2012-2014) of shallow (<200 m) plankton tows, taken along the continental shelf inside the California Current system, offer new insights into the spatial and seasonal dynamics of planktic foraminifera in an upwelling regime. Tows along with intensive hydrologic monitoring by CTD casts and discrete bottle sampling (temperature, salinity, oxygen, thermocline depth, carbonate saturation state) have spanned two complete seasonal upwelling-relaxation cycles. We present the results from these tows as well as preliminary models linking environmental drivers and foraminifera assemblages in this highly dynamic environment. Species abundances appear to be highly seasonal, in keeping with water column structure, with a seasonal upwelling to relaxation trade off between the non-spinose foraminifers Neogloboquadrina pachyderma and Neogloboquadrina incompta. We focus on the implications of species seasonality and hydrologic affinities to the interpretation of the fossil record in upwelling regions.

  16. Exceptionally preserved North American Paleogene metatherians: adaptations and discovery of a major gap in the opossum fossil record.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo; Ladevèze, Sandrine; Horovitz, Inés; Argot, Christine; Hooker, Jeremy J; Macrini, Thomas E; Martin, Thomas; Moore-Fay, Scott; de Muizon, Christian; Schmelzle, Thomas; Asher, Robert J

    2007-06-22

    A major gap in our knowledge of the evolution of marsupial mammals concerns the Paleogene of the northern continents, a critical time and place to link the early history of metatherians in Asia and North America with the more recent diversification in South America and Australia. We studied new exceptionally well-preserved partial skeletons of the Early Oligocene fossil Herpetotherium from the White River Formation in Wyoming, which allowed us to test the relationships of this taxon and examine its adaptations. Herpetotheriidae, with a fossil record extending from the Cretaceous to the Miocene, has traditionally been allied with opossums (Didelphidae) based on fragmentary material, mainly dentitions. Analysis of the new material reveals that several aspects of the cranial and postcranial anatomy, some of which suggests a terrestrial lifestyle, distinguish Herpetotherium from opossums. We found that Herpetotherium is the sister group to the crown group Marsupialia and is not a stem didelphid. Combination of the new palaeontological data with molecular divergence estimates, suggests the presence of a long undocumented gap in the fossil record of opossums extending some 45Myr from the Early Miocene to the Cretaceous.

  17. A first record of Cretaceous aphids (Hemiptera, Sternorrhyncha, Aphidomorpha) in Australia, from the Lower Cretaceous Koonwarra Fossil Bed, Victoria.

    PubMed

    Martin, Sarah K; Skidmore, Luke I; Stilwell, Jeffrey D

    2016-01-01

    This paper describes the first species of aphid from the Lower Cretaceous Koonwarra Fossil Bed of the Gippsland Basin, southeastern Victoria, Australia. This aphid, herein named Koonwarraphis rotundafrons gen. & sp. nov., is assigned to the cosmopolitan Cretaceous superfamily Tajmyraphidoidea, which has been previously described from the Lebanese, Taimyrian, Canadian, Myanmar (Burmese), and Spanish ambers. Koonwarraphis rotundafrons is the first aphid recorded from the eastern Gondwanan landmass during the Cretaceous, and represents the only tajmyraphidoid preserved as a compression fossil, rather than as an amber inclusion. Due to the nature of the fossil's preservation, Koonwarraphis cannot be firmly placed in any of the described tajmyraphidoid families; however, all observable morphological features suggest that the genus is broadly typical of the superfamily and Cretaceous aphids in general. Koonwarraphis' shortened rostrum, a feature also seen in other tajmyraphidoids, suggests an association with the more herbaceous aspects of the Early Cretaceous Victorian flora. Considering the modern aphid preference for angiosperm plants, it is possible that this aphid was living upon the herbaceous early angiosperms recorded previously from the Koonwarra macrofloral assemblage. PMID:27395744

  18. The First Occurrence in the Fossil Record of an Aquatic Avian Twig-Nest with Phoenicopteriformes Eggs: Evolutionary Implications

    PubMed Central

    Grellet-Tinner, Gerald; Murelaga, Xabier; Larrasoaña, Juan C.; Silveira, Luis F.; Olivares, Maitane; Ortega, Luis A.; Trimby, Patrick W.; Pascual, Ana

    2012-01-01

    Background We describe the first occurrence in the fossil record of an aquatic avian twig-nest with five eggs in situ (Early Miocene Tudela Formation, Ebro Basin, Spain). Extensive outcrops of this formation reveal autochthonous avian osteological and oological fossils that represent a single taxon identified as a basal phoenicopterid. Although the eggshell structure is definitively phoenicopterid, the characteristics of both the nest and the eggs are similar to those of modern grebes. These observations allow us to address the origin of the disparities between the sister taxa Podicipedidae and Phoenicopteridae crown clades, and traces the evolution of the nesting and reproductive environments for phoenicopteriforms. Methodology/Principal Findings Multi-disciplinary analyses performed on fossilized vegetation and eggshells from the eggs in the nest and its embedding sediments indicate that this new phoenicopterid thrived under a semi-arid climate in an oligohaline (seasonally mesohaline) shallow endorheic lacustine environment. High-end microcharacterizations including SEM, TEM, and EBSD techniques were pivotal to identifying these phoenicopterid eggshells. Anatomical comparisons of the fossil bones with those of Phoenicopteriformes and Podicipediformes crown clades and extinct palaelodids confirm that this avian fossil assemblage belongs to a new and basal phoenicopterid. Conclusions/Significance Although the Podicipediformes-Phoenicopteriformes sister group relationship is now well supported, flamingos and grebes exhibit feeding, reproductive, and nesting strategies that diverge significantly. Our multi-disciplinary study is the first to reveal that the phoenicopteriform reproductive behaviour, nesting ecology and nest characteristics derived from grebe-like type strategies to reach the extremely specialized conditions observed in modern flamingo crown groups. Furthermore, our study enables us to map ecological and reproductive characters on the

  19. Phylogeography of Douglas-fir based on mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA sequences: testing hypotheses from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Gugger, Paul F; Sugita, Shinya; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine

    2010-05-01

    The integration of fossil and molecular data can provide a synthetic understanding of the ecological and evolutionary history of an organism. We analysed range-wide maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA and paternally inherited chloroplast DNA sequence data with coalescent simulations and traditional population genetic methods to test hypotheses of population divergence generated from the fossil record of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), an ecologically and economically important western North American conifer. Specifically, we tested (i) the hypothesis that the Pliocene orogeny of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada caused the divergence of coastal and Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir varieties; and (ii) the hypothesis that multiple glacial refugia existed on the coast and in the Rocky Mountains. We found that Douglas-fir varieties diverged about 2.11 Ma (4.37 Ma-755 ka), which could be consistent with a Pliocene divergence. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir probably resided in three or more glacial refugia. More variable molecular markers would be required to detect the two coastal refugia suggested in the fossil record. Comparison of mitochondrial DNA and chloroplast DNA variation revealed that gene flow via pollen linked populations isolated from seed exchange. Postglacial colonization of Canada from coastal and Rocky Mountain refugia near the ice margin at the Last Glacial Maximum produced a wide hybrid zone among varieties that formed almost exclusively by pollen exchange and chloroplast DNA introgression, not seed exchange. Postglacial migration rates were 50-165 m/year, insufficient to track projected 21st century warming in some regions. Although fossil and genetic data largely agree, each provides unique insights. PMID:20374486

  20. Fossil isotope records of seasonal climate and ecology: Straight from the horse's mouth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharp, Z. D.; Cerling, T. E.

    1998-03-01

    Isotope analysis of a bulk fossil tooth gives a “snapshot” impression of paleoclimatic conditions—a single point in time. However, hypsodont teeth grow over a period of a year or more, so that stable carbon and oxygen isotope variations along their length are a “tape recorder” of short-term seasonal variations from the distant past. We have used a new in situ micro-laser sampling method to determine submillimeter carbon and oxygen isotope variations in the enamel of individual fossil horse teeth to assess ancient annual meteoric water variations and feeding patterns. The δ18O values from a 6.8 Ma fossil horse tooth (Astrohippus ansae) from Texas vary cyclically along the 6 cm length of the tooth with a smoothed amplitude of >4‰, similar to the monthly averaged amplitude measured in modern meteoric waters from the region. The seasonal δ18O values are ˜3‰ to 4‰ higher than those calculated from modern meteoric water data, suggesting either a higher local meteoric water value in the Miocene of Texas, or that the animal received a high proportion of its dietary water from plants or highly evaporated water. A Holocene horse tooth from the shores of Glacial Lake Agassiz, North Dakota (Equus sp.), also has isotopic variations with the same 35 mm periodicity, but a smoothed amplitude of only 2‰. This horse most likely had a buffered drinking supply. The calculated δ18O of the water in equilibrium with this tooth is the same as the modern measured annual average. The variations within a single tooth can be as large as those generally observed in entire stratigraphic sections of fossil teeth analyzed by bulk methods. The new method provides an important technique for evaluating fossil diagenesis; conventional bulk analyses of teeth fragments may not be representative of the whole tooth, thus explaining analytical scatter that has been previously attributed to diagenesis.

  1. A 5000-year fossil record of larval shell morphology of submarine cave microshells.

    PubMed

    Ubukata, Takao; Kitamura, Akihisa; Hiramoto, Mayumi; Kase, Tomoki

    2009-01-01

    A 5000-year fossil series of minute submarine cave bivalves was studied using morphometric and evolutionary analyses. The obtained results indicate that the shapes of larval shells of studied species were labile, whereas the size of the larval shell was stable in each species studied. This result is different than that previously reported in most other studies in which size change is more common than shape change. This unique evolutionary pattern of these bivalves might be attributed to their refugial lifestyle. PMID:19146597

  2. The consequences of time averaging for measuring temporal species turnover in the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tomašových, Adam; Kidwell, Susan

    2010-05-01

    Modeling time averaging effects with simple simulations allows us to evaluate the magnitude of change in temporal species turnover that is expected to occur in long (paleoecological) time series with fossil assemblages. Distinguishing different modes of metacommunity dynamics (such as neutral, density-dependent, or trade-off dynamics) with time-averaged fossil assemblages requires scaling-up time-averaging effects because the decrease in temporal resolution and the decrease in temporal inter-sample separation (i.e., the two main effects of time averaging) substantially increase community stability relative to assemblages without or with weak time averaging. Large changes in temporal scale that cover centuries to millennia can lead to unprecedented effects on temporal rate of change in species composition. Temporal variation in species composition monotonically decreases with increasing duration of time-averaging in simulated fossil assemblages. Time averaging is also associated with the reduction of species dominance owing to the temporal switching in the identity of dominant species. High degrees of time averaging can cause that community parameters of local fossil assemblages converge to parameters of metacommunity rather that to parameters of individual local non-averaged communities. We find that the low variation in species composition observed among mollusk and ostracod subfossil assemblages can be explained by time averaging alone, and low temporal resolution and reduced temporal separation among assemblages in time series can thus explain a substantial part of the reduced variation in species composition relative to unscaled predictions of neutral model (i.e., species do not differ in birth, death, and immigration rates on per capita basis). The structure of time-averaged assemblages can thus provide important insights into processes that act over larger temporal scales, such as evolution of niches and dispersal, range-limit dynamics, taxon cycles, and

  3. Individual to Community-Level Faunal Responses to Environmental Change from a Marine Fossil Record of Early Miocene Global Warming

    PubMed Central

    Belanger, Christina L.

    2012-01-01

    Modern climate change has a strong potential to shift earth systems and biological communities into novel states that have no present-day analog, leaving ecologists with no observational basis to predict the likely biotic effects. Fossil records contain long time-series of past environmental changes outside the range of modern observation, which are vital for predicting future ecological responses, and are capable of (a) providing detailed information on rates of ecological change, (b) illuminating the environmental drivers of those changes, and (c) recording the effects of environmental change on individual physiological rates. Outcrops of Early Miocene Newport Member of the Astoria Formation (Oregon) provide one such time series. This record of benthic foraminiferal and molluscan community change from continental shelf depths spans a past interval environmental change (∼20.3-16.7 mya) during which the region warmed 2.1–4.5°C, surface productivity and benthic organic carbon flux increased, and benthic oxygenation decreased, perhaps driven by intensified upwelling as on the modern Oregon coast. The Newport Member record shows that (a) ecological responses to natural environmental change can be abrupt, (b) productivity can be the primary driver of faunal change during global warming, (c) molluscs had a threshold response to productivity change while foraminifera changed gradually, and (d) changes in bivalve body size and growth rates parallel changes in taxonomic composition at the community level, indicating that, either directly or indirectly through some other biological parameter, the physiological tolerances of species do influence community change. Ecological studies in modern and fossil records that consider multiple ecological levels, environmental parameters, and taxonomic groups can provide critical information for predicting future ecological change and evaluating species vulnerability. PMID:22558424

  4. Paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic control on early diagenetic processes and fossil record in Cretaceous continental sandstones of Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia, Antônio J. V.; da Rosa, Átila A. S.; Goldberg, Karin

    2005-08-01

    The Early Cretaceous, pre-rift continental rock sequences of northeastern Brazil (Rio do Peixe, Araripe, Recôncavo-Tucano, and Sergipe-Alagoas basins), deposited in a wide intracontinental basin (Afro-Brazilian Depression), and the Late Cretaceous, post-rift continental deposits of the Paraná Basin (Bauru Group, Minas Gerais) reflect the controlling processes related to the Brazilian record of nonmarine fossil vertebrates. These sequences were deposited in braided fluvial, eolian, and lacustrine environments in a semi-arid to arid climate. Sedimentary and diagenetic processes ascribed to paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental conditions are among the major factors that control fossil preservation in fluvial deposits. The pre-rift successions contain a rare record of a dinosaur fauna that lived near more humid highlands in the northern portion of the Afro-Brazilian Depression, relative to its southern counterpart, where hardly any fossil remains would have been preserved in the adverse climatic conditions. The Afro-Brazilian Depression is interpreted as a large pathway for dinosaurs before the breakup of Gondwana. Conversely, abundant dinosaur remains (bones, eggs, and teeth) and other vertebrates (turtles, crocodiles, frogs, and fish) are found in the Bauru Group in the Paraná Basin. In this unit, the seasonal paleoclimate provided sufficient conditions for the maintenance of bodies of water that served as nesting and living sites for various vertebrate forms. Paleoclimatic conditions are assumed to account for the different preservation of bones in the Paraná Basin relative to the Afro-Brazilian Depression, because the latter was subject to more arid conditions, and the humid environment was restricted to the northern margin.

  5. Tooth counts through growth in diapsid reptiles: implications for interpreting individual and size-related variation in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Brown, Caleb Marshall; VanBuren, Collin S; Larson, Derek W; Brink, Kirstin S; Campione, Nicolás E; Vavrek, Matthew J; Evans, David C

    2015-04-01

    Tooth counts are commonly recorded in fossil diapsid reptiles and have been used for taxonomic and phylogenetic purposes under the assumption that differences in the number of teeth are largely explained by interspecific variation. Although phylogeny is almost certainly one of the greatest factors influencing tooth count, the relative role of intraspecific variation is difficult, and often impossible, to test in the fossil record given the sample sizes available to palaeontologists and, as such, is best investigated using extant models. Intraspecific variation (largely manifested as size-related or ontogenetic variation) in tooth counts has been examined in extant squamates (lizards and snakes) but is poorly understood in archosaurs (crocodylians and dinosaurs). Here, we document tooth count variation in two species of extant crocodylians (Alligator mississippiensis and Crocodylus porosus) as well as a large varanid lizard (Varanus komodoensis). We test the hypothesis that variation in tooth count is driven primarily by growth and thus predict significant correlations between tooth count and size, as well as differences in the frequency of deviation from the modal tooth count in the premaxilla, maxilla, and dentary. In addition to tooth counts, we also document tooth allometry in each species and compare these results with tooth count change through growth. Results reveal no correlation of tooth count with size in any element of any species examined here, with the exception of the premaxilla of C. porosus, which shows the loss of one tooth position. Based on the taxa examined here, we reject the hypothesis, as it is evident that variation in tooth count is not always significantly correlated with growth. However, growth trajectories of smaller reptilian taxa show increases in tooth counts and, although current samples are small, suggest potential correlates between tooth count trajectories and adult size. Nevertheless, interspecific variation in growth patterns

  6. Tooth counts through growth in diapsid reptiles: implications for interpreting individual and size-related variation in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Brown, Caleb Marshall; VanBuren, Collin S; Larson, Derek W; Brink, Kirstin S; Campione, Nicolás E; Vavrek, Matthew J; Evans, David C

    2015-04-01

    Tooth counts are commonly recorded in fossil diapsid reptiles and have been used for taxonomic and phylogenetic purposes under the assumption that differences in the number of teeth are largely explained by interspecific variation. Although phylogeny is almost certainly one of the greatest factors influencing tooth count, the relative role of intraspecific variation is difficult, and often impossible, to test in the fossil record given the sample sizes available to palaeontologists and, as such, is best investigated using extant models. Intraspecific variation (largely manifested as size-related or ontogenetic variation) in tooth counts has been examined in extant squamates (lizards and snakes) but is poorly understood in archosaurs (crocodylians and dinosaurs). Here, we document tooth count variation in two species of extant crocodylians (Alligator mississippiensis and Crocodylus porosus) as well as a large varanid lizard (Varanus komodoensis). We test the hypothesis that variation in tooth count is driven primarily by growth and thus predict significant correlations between tooth count and size, as well as differences in the frequency of deviation from the modal tooth count in the premaxilla, maxilla, and dentary. In addition to tooth counts, we also document tooth allometry in each species and compare these results with tooth count change through growth. Results reveal no correlation of tooth count with size in any element of any species examined here, with the exception of the premaxilla of C. porosus, which shows the loss of one tooth position. Based on the taxa examined here, we reject the hypothesis, as it is evident that variation in tooth count is not always significantly correlated with growth. However, growth trajectories of smaller reptilian taxa show increases in tooth counts and, although current samples are small, suggest potential correlates between tooth count trajectories and adult size. Nevertheless, interspecific variation in growth patterns

  7. Vegetation response to climate change in Alaska: examples from the fossil record

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ager, Thomas A.

    2007-01-01

    Preface: This report was presented as an invited paper at the Fish & Wildlife Service Climate Forum held in Anchorage, Alaska on February 21-23, 2007. The purpose of the talk was to provide some examples of past climate changes that appear to have caused significant responses in Alaskan vegetation. These examples are based on interpretations of dated fossil assemblages (pollen, spores and plant macrofossils) collected and interpreted by U.S. Geological Survey and collaborating scientists from other scientific organizations during the past several decades.

  8. The baryon halo of the milky way: A fossil record of its formation

    PubMed

    Bland-Hawthorn; Freeman

    2000-01-01

    Astronomers believe that the baryon (stellar) halo of the Milky Way retains a fossil imprint of how it was formed. But a vast literature shows that the struggle to interpret the observations within a consistent framework continues. The evidence indicates that the halo has built up through a process of accretion and merging over billions of years, which is still going on at a low level. Future satellite missions to derive three-dimensional space motions and heavy element (metal) abundances for a billion stars will disentangle the existing web and elucidate how galaxies like our own came into existence.

  9. The bubble fossil record: insight into boiling nucleation using nanofluid pool-boiling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huitink, David; Ontiveros, Elvis Efren Dominguez; Hassan, Yassin

    2012-02-01

    Subcooled pool boiling of Al2O3/water nanofluid (0.1 vol%) was investigated. Scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy were used to observe surface features of the wire heater where nanoparticles had deposited. A layer of aggregated alumina particles collected on the heated surface, where evidence of fluid shear associated with bubble nucleation and departure was "fossilized" in the fluidized nano-porous surface coating. These structures contain evidence of the fluid forces present in the microlayer prior to departure and provide a unique understanding of boiling phenomena. A unique mode of heat transfer was identified in nanofluid pool boiling.

  10. Phylogenomic dating--a method of constraining the age of microbial taxa that lack a conventional fossil record.

    PubMed

    Blank, Carrine E

    2009-03-01

    A phylogenomic dating approach was used to identify potential age constraints for multiple archaeal groups, many of which have no fossil, isotopic, or biomarker record. First, well-resolved phylogenetic trees were inferred with the use of multiple gene sequences obtained from whole genome sequences. Next, the ability to use oxygen as a terminal electron acceptor was coded into characters, and ancestral state reconstruction was used to identify clades with taxa that metabolize oxygen and likely had an aerobic ancestor. Next, the habitat of the ancestor was inferred. If the local presence of Cyanobacteria could be excluded from the putative ancestral habitat, then these clades would have originated after the rise in atmospheric oxygen 2.32 Ga. With this method, an upper age of 2.32 Ga (an "oxygen age constraint") is proposed for four major archaeal clades: the Sulfolobales, Thermoplasmatales, Thermoproteus neutrophilus/Pyrobaculum spp., and the Thermoproteales. It was also shown that the halophilic archaea likely had an aerobic common ancestor, yet the possibility of local oxygen oases before oxygenation of the atmosphere could not be formally rejected. Thus, an oxygen age constraint was not assessed for this group. This work suggests that many archaeal groups are not as ancient as many in the research community have previously assumed, and it provides a new method for establishing upper age constraints for major microbial groups that lack a conventional fossil record.

  11. Towards a morphological metric of assemblage dynamics in the fossil record: a test case using planktonic foraminifera.

    PubMed

    Hsiang, Allison Y; Elder, Leanne E; Hull, Pincelli M

    2016-04-01

    With a glance, even the novice naturalist can tell you something about the ecology of a given ecosystem. This is because the morphology of individuals reflects their evolutionary history and ecology, and imparts a distinct 'look' to communities--making it possible to immediately discern between deserts and forests, or coral reefs and abyssal plains. Once quantified, morphology can provide a common metric for characterizing communities across space and time and, if measured rapidly, serve as a powerful tool for quantifying biotic dynamics. Here, we present and test a new high-throughput approach for analysing community shape in the fossil record using semi-three-dimensional (3D) morphometrics from vertically stacked images (light microscopic or photogrammetric). We assess the potential informativeness of community morphology in a first analysis of the relationship between 3D morphology, ecology and phylogeny in 16 extant species of planktonic foraminifera--an abundant group in the marine fossil record--and in a preliminary comparison of four assemblages from the North Atlantic. In the species examined, phylogenetic relatedness was most closely correlated with ecology, with all three ecological traits examined (depth habitat, symbiont ecology and biogeography) showing significant phylogenetic signal. By contrast, morphological trees (based on 3D shape similarity) were relatively distantly related to both ecology and phylogeny. Although improvements are needed to realize the full utility of community morphometrics, our approach already provides robust volumetric measurements of assemblage size, a key ecological characteristic. PMID:26977067

  12. Revisiting the origin and diversification of vascular plants through a comprehensive Bayesian analysis of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Silvestro, Daniele; Cascales-Miñana, Borja; Bacon, Christine D; Antonelli, Alexandre

    2015-07-01

    Plants have a long evolutionary history, during which mass extinction events dramatically affected Earth's ecosystems and its biodiversity. The fossil record can shed light on the diversification dynamics of plant life and reveal how changes in the origination-extinction balance have contributed to shaping the current flora. We use a novel Bayesian approach to estimate origination and extinction rates in plants throughout their history. We focus on the effect of the 'Big Five' mass extinctions and on estimating the timing of origin of vascular plants, seed plants and angiosperms. Our analyses show that plant diversification is characterized by several shifts in origination and extinction rates, often matching the most important geological boundaries. The estimated origin of major plant clades predates the oldest macrofossils when considering the uncertainties associated with the fossil record and the preservation process. Our findings show that the commonly recognized mass extinctions have affected each plant group differently and that phases of high extinction often coincided with major floral turnovers. For instance, after the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary we infer negligible shifts in diversification of nonflowering seed plants, but find significantly decreased extinction in spore-bearing plants and increased origination rates in angiosperms, contributing to their current ecological and evolutionary dominance.

  13. Phylogenomic Dating-A Method of Constraining the Age of Microbial Taxa That Lack a Conventional Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blank, Carrine E.

    2009-03-01

    A phylogenomic dating approach was used to identify potential age constraints for multiple archaeal groups, many of which have no fossil, isotopic, or biomarker record. First, well-resolved phylogenetic trees were inferred with the use of multiple gene sequences obtained from whole genome sequences. Next, the ability to use oxygen as a terminal electron acceptor was coded into characters, and ancestral state reconstruction was used to identify clades with taxa that metabolize oxygen and likely had an aerobic ancestor. Next, the habitat of the ancestor was inferred. If the local presence of Cyanobacteria could be excluded from the putative ancestral habitat, then these clades would have originated after the rise in atmospheric oxygen 2.32 Ga. With this method, an upper age of 2.32 Ga (an "oxygen age constraint") is proposed for four major archaeal clades: the Sulfolobales, Thermoplasmatales, Thermoproteus neutrophilus/Pyrobaculum spp., and the Thermoproteales. It was also shown that the halophilic archaea likely had an aerobic common ancestor, yet the possibility of local oxygen oases before oxygenation of the atmosphere could not be formally rejected. Thus, an oxygen age constraint was not assessed for this group. This work suggests that many archaeal groups are not as ancient as many in the research community have previously assumed, and it provides a new method for establishing upper age constraints for major microbial groups that lack a conventional fossil record.

  14. The Large Igneous Province (LIP) Record during the Archean-Proterozoic Transition Between 2.5 Ga and 2.0 Ga

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ernst, R. E.; Bleeker, W.

    2010-12-01

    A review of the large igneous province (LIP) record reveals numerous events between 2500 and 2000 Ma with a potential gap between 2370 Ma and 2230 Ma. The distribution is uneven with some blocks, such as Superior and Karelia, being well populated, while others, such as Kaapvaal, Amazonia and Yilgarn, having few well-dated LIP events in this time interval; however, the relative paucity of dated events on some blocks may at present simply reflect severe undersampling. LIP events in the 2.5-2.0 Ga interval are thought to be linked to progressive rifting and breakup of late Archean supercratons (e.g., Bleeker 2003, Lithos), or possibly a large supercontinent. Some of these LIPs may also be linked to major environmental changes including iron formation deposition (e.g., Bekker et al. 2010, Econ. Geol.). In terms of understanding the changing geodynamic setting in the 2.5-2.0 Ga interval it is critical to discriminate between LIPs that perhaps were global in extent and those that were more regional in scale but have been widely scattered through subsequent supercontinent fragmentation. Thus, determining the paleogeography of latest Archean supercratons is key. This can be achieved most efficiently by completing the LIP records (magmatic “barcodes”) for all major crustal blocks. Craton-scale blocks that were nearest neighbours in a preexisting landmass will share essential elements of their barcodes, and geometrical information inherent in giant dyke swarms, the plumbing systems of LIPs, can constrain likely configurations. Comparison of paleomagnetic poles and matching of geochemical fingerprints from coeval LIPs on different crustal blocks will provide additional constraints. Using the 2.5-2.0 Ga LIP record, it has been determined that the Superior craton was bordered on its southern-southeastern margin, from west to east, by the Wyoming, Hearne, Karelian, and Kola cratons (Bleeker and Ernst 2006 in Hanski et al. (eds.) Dyke swarms — time markers of crustal

  15. Contrasting behavioral and feeding strategies recorded by tidal-flat bivalve trace fossils from the Upper Carboniferous of eastern Kansas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mangano, M.G.; Buatois, L.A.; West, R.R.; Maples, C.G.

    1998-01-01

    Upper Carboniferous tidal-flat deposits near Waverly, eastern Kansas (Stull Shale Member, Kanwaka Shale Formation), host abundant and very well-preserved trace fossils attributed to the activity of burrowing bivalves. Thin shell lenses with an abundant bivalve fauna area associated with the ichnofossil-bearing beds and afford an unusual opportunity to relate trace fossils to their makers. Two distinctive life and feeding strategies can be reconstructed on the basis of trace fossil analysis and functional morphology. Lockeria siliquaria hyporeliefs commonly are connected with vertical to inclined, truncated endichnial shafts in the absence of horizontal locomotion traces. These structures record vertical and oblique displacement through the sediment, and suggest relatively stable domiciles rather than temporary resting traces as typically considered. Crowded bedding surfaces displaying cross-cutting relationships between specimens of L. siliquaria and differential preservation at the top (concave versus convex epireliefs) record a complex history of successive events of colonization, erosion, deposition, and recolonization (time-averaged assemblages). Irregujlar contours of some large hypichnia indicate the cast of the foot, while other outlines closely match the anterior area of Wilkingia, its suggested tracemaker. Relatively stable, vertical to inclined life positions and dominanit vertical mobility suggest a filter-feeding strategy. Moreover, the elongate shell and pallial sinus of Wilkingia providfe a strong independent line of evidence for an opisthosiphonate, moderately deep-tier inhabitant. Wilingia may represent a pioneer attempt at siphon-feeding in the late Paleozoic, preceding the outcome of the Mesozoic infaunal radiation. A second strategy is represented by Lockeia ornata and association locomotionm and locomotion/feding structures. Lockeia ornata is commonly connected with chevron locomotion traces that record the bifurcated foot of a protobranch

  16. Late glacial climate estimates for southern Nevada: The ostracode fossil record

    SciTech Connect

    Forester, R.M.; Smith, A.J.

    1995-10-01

    Climate change plays an important role in determining as possible long term hydrological performance of the potential high level nuclear waste repository within Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Present-day global circulation results in this region having an arid to semi-arid climate characterized by hot and relatively dry summers. Global circulation during the late glacial (about 14 to 20 ka) was very different from the present-day. Preliminary study of late-glacial fossil ostracodes from {open_quotes}marsh deposits{close_quotes} in the upper Las Vegas Valley suggests mean annual precipitation may have been four times higher, while mean annual temperature may have been about 10{degrees}C cooler than today. A major difference between present-day and late-glacial climate was likely the existence of cooler, cloudier, and wetter summers in the past.

  17. Microbe-like inclusions in tree resins and implications for the fossil record of protists in amber.

    PubMed

    Thiel, V; Lausmaa, J; Sjövall, P; Ragazzi, E; Seyfullah, L J; Schmidt, A R

    2016-07-01

    During the past two decades, a plethora of fossil micro-organisms have been described from various Triassic to Miocene ambers. However, in addition to entrapped microbes, ambers commonly contain microscopic inclusions that sometimes resemble amoebae, ciliates, microfungi, and unicellular algae in size and shape, but do not provide further diagnostic features thereof. For a better assessment of the actual fossil record of unicellular eukaryotes in amber, we studied equivalent inclusions in modern resin of the Araucariaceae; this conifer family comprises important amber-producers in Earth history. Using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), we investigated the chemical nature of the inclusion matter and the resin matrix. Whereas the matrix, as expected, showed a more hydrocarbon/aromatic-dominated composition, the inclusions contain abundant salt ions and polar organics. However, the absence of signals characteristic for cellular biomass, namely distinctive proteinaceous amino acids and lipid moieties, indicates that the inclusions do not contain microbial cellular matter but salts and hydrophilic organic substances that probably derived from the plant itself. Rather than representing protists or their remains, these microbe-like inclusions, for which we propose the term 'pseudoinclusions', consist of compounds that are immiscible with the terpenoid resin matrix and were probably secreted in small amounts together with the actual resin by the plant tissue. Consequently, reports of protists from amber that are only based on the similarity of the overall shape and size to extant taxa, but do not provide relevant features at light-microscopical and ultrastructural level, cannot be accepted as unambiguous fossil evidence for these particular groups.

  18. Microbe-like inclusions in tree resins and implications for the fossil record of protists in amber.

    PubMed

    Thiel, V; Lausmaa, J; Sjövall, P; Ragazzi, E; Seyfullah, L J; Schmidt, A R

    2016-07-01

    During the past two decades, a plethora of fossil micro-organisms have been described from various Triassic to Miocene ambers. However, in addition to entrapped microbes, ambers commonly contain microscopic inclusions that sometimes resemble amoebae, ciliates, microfungi, and unicellular algae in size and shape, but do not provide further diagnostic features thereof. For a better assessment of the actual fossil record of unicellular eukaryotes in amber, we studied equivalent inclusions in modern resin of the Araucariaceae; this conifer family comprises important amber-producers in Earth history. Using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), we investigated the chemical nature of the inclusion matter and the resin matrix. Whereas the matrix, as expected, showed a more hydrocarbon/aromatic-dominated composition, the inclusions contain abundant salt ions and polar organics. However, the absence of signals characteristic for cellular biomass, namely distinctive proteinaceous amino acids and lipid moieties, indicates that the inclusions do not contain microbial cellular matter but salts and hydrophilic organic substances that probably derived from the plant itself. Rather than representing protists or their remains, these microbe-like inclusions, for which we propose the term 'pseudoinclusions', consist of compounds that are immiscible with the terpenoid resin matrix and were probably secreted in small amounts together with the actual resin by the plant tissue. Consequently, reports of protists from amber that are only based on the similarity of the overall shape and size to extant taxa, but do not provide relevant features at light-microscopical and ultrastructural level, cannot be accepted as unambiguous fossil evidence for these particular groups. PMID:27027519

  19. Lower Paleozoic and Proterozoic rocks of Southern Brooks Range, Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Dillion, J.T.

    1985-04-01

    Lower Paleozoic or Proterozoic basement rocks occur in windows and thrust plates in several areas of the Brooks Range. Uranium-lead radiometric analyses of highly metamorphosed rocks from the Baird Mountains and Ernie Lake area have yielded Proterozoic ages. Structural, stratigraphic, petrologic, and isotopic evidence exists for Proterozoic(.) rocks in the schist belt; around the Chandalar, Arrigetch,and Igikpak plutons; and in the Cosmos Hills window. Fossiliferous, Lower Paleozoic, low-grade metasedimentary rocks occur in the Romanzof Mountains, Doonerak window, and Baird Mountains, and may also surround the Chandalar plutons. Locally, the Lower Paleozoic rocks are unconformably overlain by Devonian to Mississippian metasediments and may stratigraphically overlie older, higher grade metamorphic rocks. Similarities in the stratigraphic settings and lithologies and in fossil ages and affinities allow correlation of the Lower Paleozoic rocks in the southern Brooks Range. Correlation of Lower Paleozoic rocks exposed beneath the Endicott allochthon at the Doonerak fenster with coeval rocks in an overlying thrust plate to the south at Snowsden Mountain is especially significant. A west-trending thrust fault, which is rooted in Lower Paleozoic basement, along the north side of Snowsden Mountain is postulated to account for these relationships. Apparently, the Endicott allochthon roots beneath the Snowsden Mountain thrust fault. Evidence form conodont samples currently being studied by A. Harris may bear on the extent of the Lower Paleozoic rocks in the upper plate of the Snowsden Mountain thrust and in the Chandalar area.

  20. Arsenic stress after the Proterozoic glaciations

    PubMed Central

    Chi Fru, Ernest; Arvestål, Emma; Callac, Nolwenn; El Albani, Abderrazak; Kilias, Stephanos; Argyraki, Ariadne; Jakobsson, Martin

    2015-01-01

    Protection against arsenic damage in organisms positioned deep in the tree of life points to early evolutionary sensitization. Here, marine sedimentary records reveal a Proterozoic arsenic concentration patterned to glacial-interglacial ages. The low glacial and high interglacial sedimentary arsenic concentrations, suggest deteriorating habitable marine conditions may have coincided with atmospheric oxygen decline after ~2.1 billion years ago. A similar intensification of near continental margin sedimentary arsenic levels after the Cryogenian glaciations is also associated with amplified continental weathering. However, interpreted atmospheric oxygen increase at this time, suggests that the marine biosphere had widely adapted to the reorganization of global marine elemental cycles by glaciations. Such a glacially induced biogeochemical bridge would have produced physiologically robust communities that enabled increased oxygenation of the ocean-atmosphere system and the radiation of the complex Ediacaran-Cambrian life. PMID:26635187

  1. Arsenic stress after the Proterozoic glaciations.

    PubMed

    Fru, Ernest Chi; Arvestål, Emma; Callac, Nolwenn; El Albani, Abderrazak; Kilias, Stephanos; Argyraki, Ariadne; Jakobsson, Martin

    2015-12-04

    Protection against arsenic damage in organisms positioned deep in the tree of life points to early evolutionary sensitization. Here, marine sedimentary records reveal a Proterozoic arsenic concentration patterned to glacial-interglacial ages. The low glacial and high interglacial sedimentary arsenic concentrations, suggest deteriorating habitable marine conditions may have coincided with atmospheric oxygen decline after ~2.1 billion years ago. A similar intensification of near continental margin sedimentary arsenic levels after the Cryogenian glaciations is also associated with amplified continental weathering. However, interpreted atmospheric oxygen increase at this time, suggests that the marine biosphere had widely adapted to the reorganization of global marine elemental cycles by glaciations. Such a glacially induced biogeochemical bridge would have produced physiologically robust communities that enabled increased oxygenation of the ocean-atmosphere system and the radiation of the complex Ediacaran-Cambrian life.

  2. Arsenic stress after the Proterozoic glaciations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chi Fru, Ernest; Arvestål, Emma; Callac, Nolwenn; El Albani, Abderrazak; Kilias, Stephanos; Argyraki, Ariadne; Jakobsson, Martin

    2015-12-01

    Protection against arsenic damage in organisms positioned deep in the tree of life points to early evolutionary sensitization. Here, marine sedimentary records reveal a Proterozoic arsenic concentration patterned to glacial-interglacial ages. The low glacial and high interglacial sedimentary arsenic concentrations, suggest deteriorating habitable marine conditions may have coincided with atmospheric oxygen decline after ~2.1 billion years ago. A similar intensification of near continental margin sedimentary arsenic levels after the Cryogenian glaciations is also associated with amplified continental weathering. However, interpreted atmospheric oxygen increase at this time, suggests that the marine biosphere had widely adapted to the reorganization of global marine elemental cycles by glaciations. Such a glacially induced biogeochemical bridge would have produced physiologically robust communities that enabled increased oxygenation of the ocean-atmosphere system and the radiation of the complex Ediacaran-Cambrian life.

  3. Fossil Horses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacFadden, Bruce J.

    1994-06-01

    The family Equidae have an extensive fossil record spanning the past 58 million years, and the evolution of the horse has frequently been used as a classic example of long-term evolution. In recent years, however, there have been many important discoveries of fossil horses, and these, in conjunction with such new methods as cladistics, and techniques such as precise geochronology, have allowed us to achieve a much greater understanding of the evolution and biology of this important group. This book synthesizes the large body of data and research relevant to an understanding of fossil horses from several disciplines including biology, geology and paleontology. Using horses as the central theme, the author weaves together in the text such topics as modern geochronology, paleobiogeography, climate change, evolution and extinction, functional morphology, and population biology during the Cenozoic period. This book will be exciting reading for researchers and graduate students in vertebrate paleontology, evolution, and zoology.

  4. Atmospheric, Climatic, and Biological Evolution at Both Ends of the Proterozoic Eon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaufman, A. J.; Farquhar, J.; Wing, B.; Corsetti, F. A.; Bekker, A.

    2006-05-01

    Both ends of the Proterozoic Eon (2.5 to 0.542 Ga) are characterized by inter-related environmental, climatic, and biological events that are likely associated with fluctuations in atmospheric concentrations of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and methane. In each interval there is abundant evidence for widespread glaciation and the alternation of redox sensitive lithologies. Isotopic studies across the Proterozoic Eon reveal the effects of major orogenic and hydrothermal events on ocean chemistry, as well as profound reorganizations of the carbon and sulfur cycles. Detailed stratigraphic studies indicate a close association of the biogeochemical and climatic events with the rise and fall of atmospheric oxygen. In the terminal Proterozoic, carbonates within the Johnnie Formation of Death Valley, CA record a remarkable negative carbon isotope anomaly that accompanies a dramatic rise in trace sulfate abundance and fall of carbonate associated sulfate δ34S values. The 13C-rich alkalinity delivered to the seawater pool was likely associated with a dramatic rise in atmospheric O2, which resulted in 1) the oxidation of exposed continental shelf sediments rich in fossil organic matter and sulfides, and 2) the ventilation of the oceans. The carbon isotope anomaly is recorded in broadly equivalent successions that post-date known Marinoan glacial deposits and pre-date the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary in Oman, India, China, Australia, and Namibia, supporting the view that the oxygenation event was global. Large metazoan fossils (Ediacaran animals) first appear directly above this anomaly, suggesting that a critical threshold with respect to atmospheric O2 had been crossed at this time. In the early Proterozoic, the rise of atmospheric oxygen appears to coincide with Earth's earliest glacial record, and is linked to strong variations in carbon and sulfur isotope compositions of seawater proxies. The glacial interval is notable for the occurrence of widespread diamictite in at least

  5. Atmospheric methane isotopic record favors fossil sources flat in 1980s and 1990s with recent increase.

    PubMed

    Rice, Andrew L; Butenhoff, Christopher L; Teama, Doaa G; Röger, Florian H; Khalil, M Aslam K; Rasmussen, Reinhold A

    2016-09-27

    Observations of atmospheric methane (CH4) since the late 1970s and measurements of CH4 trapped in ice and snow reveal a meteoric rise in concentration during much of the twentieth century. Since 1750, levels of atmospheric CH4 have more than doubled to current globally averaged concentration near 1,800 ppb. During the late 1980s and 1990s, the CH4 growth rate slowed substantially and was near or at zero between 1999 and 2006. There is no scientific consensus on the drivers of this slowdown. Here, we report measurements of the stable isotopic composition of atmospheric CH4 ((13)C/(12)C and D/H) from a rare air archive dating from 1977 to 1998. Together with more modern records of isotopic atmospheric CH4, we performed a time-dependent retrieval of methane fluxes spanning 25 y (1984-2009) using a 3D chemical transport model. This inversion results in a 24 [18, 27] Tg y(-1) CH4 increase in fugitive fossil fuel emissions since 1984 with most of this growth occurring after year 2000. This result is consistent with some bottom-up emissions inventories but not with recent estimates based on atmospheric ethane. In fact, when forced with decreasing emissions from fossil fuel sources our inversion estimates unreasonably high emissions in other sources. Further, the inversion estimates a decrease in biomass-burning emissions that could explain falling ethane abundance. A range of sensitivity tests suggests that these results are robust.

  6. Towards a morphological metric of assemblage dynamics in the fossil record: a test case using planktonic foraminifera

    PubMed Central

    Hsiang, Allison Y.; Elder, Leanne E.; Hull, Pincelli M.

    2016-01-01

    With a glance, even the novice naturalist can tell you something about the ecology of a given ecosystem. This is because the morphology of individuals reflects their evolutionary history and ecology, and imparts a distinct ‘look’ to communities—making it possible to immediately discern between deserts and forests, or coral reefs and abyssal plains. Once quantified, morphology can provide a common metric for characterizing communities across space and time and, if measured rapidly, serve as a powerful tool for quantifying biotic dynamics. Here, we present and test a new high-throughput approach for analysing community shape in the fossil record using semi-three-dimensional (3D) morphometrics from vertically stacked images (light microscopic or photogrammetric). We assess the potential informativeness of community morphology in a first analysis of the relationship between 3D morphology, ecology and phylogeny in 16 extant species of planktonic foraminifera—an abundant group in the marine fossil record—and in a preliminary comparison of four assemblages from the North Atlantic. In the species examined, phylogenetic relatedness was most closely correlated with ecology, with all three ecological traits examined (depth habitat, symbiont ecology and biogeography) showing significant phylogenetic signal. By contrast, morphological trees (based on 3D shape similarity) were relatively distantly related to both ecology and phylogeny. Although improvements are needed to realize the full utility of community morphometrics, our approach already provides robust volumetric measurements of assemblage size, a key ecological characteristic. PMID:26977067

  7. Atmospheric methane isotopic record favors fossil sources flat in 1980s and 1990s with recent increase.

    PubMed

    Rice, Andrew L; Butenhoff, Christopher L; Teama, Doaa G; Röger, Florian H; Khalil, M Aslam K; Rasmussen, Reinhold A

    2016-09-27

    Observations of atmospheric methane (CH4) since the late 1970s and measurements of CH4 trapped in ice and snow reveal a meteoric rise in concentration during much of the twentieth century. Since 1750, levels of atmospheric CH4 have more than doubled to current globally averaged concentration near 1,800 ppb. During the late 1980s and 1990s, the CH4 growth rate slowed substantially and was near or at zero between 1999 and 2006. There is no scientific consensus on the drivers of this slowdown. Here, we report measurements of the stable isotopic composition of atmospheric CH4 ((13)C/(12)C and D/H) from a rare air archive dating from 1977 to 1998. Together with more modern records of isotopic atmospheric CH4, we performed a time-dependent retrieval of methane fluxes spanning 25 y (1984-2009) using a 3D chemical transport model. This inversion results in a 24 [18, 27] Tg y(-1) CH4 increase in fugitive fossil fuel emissions since 1984 with most of this growth occurring after year 2000. This result is consistent with some bottom-up emissions inventories but not with recent estimates based on atmospheric ethane. In fact, when forced with decreasing emissions from fossil fuel sources our inversion estimates unreasonably high emissions in other sources. Further, the inversion estimates a decrease in biomass-burning emissions that could explain falling ethane abundance. A range of sensitivity tests suggests that these results are robust. PMID:27621453

  8. Was Australopithecus anamensis ancestral to A. afarensis? A case of anagenesis in the hominin fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kimbel, William H; Lockwood, Charles A; Ward, Carol V; Leakey, Meave G; Rak, Yoel; Johanson, Donald C

    2006-08-01

    We tested the hypothesis that early Pliocene Australopithecus anamensis was ancestral to A. afarensis by conducting a phylogenetic analysis of four temporally successive fossil samples assigned to these species (from earliest to latest: Kanapoi, Allia Bay, Laetoli, Hadar) using polarized character-state data from 20 morphological characters of the dentition and jaws. If the hypothesis that A. anamensis is ancestral to A. afarensis is true, then character-state changes between the temporally ordered site-samples should be congruent with hypothesized polarity transformations based on outgroup (African great ape) conditions. The most parsimonious reconstruction of character-state evolution suggests that each of the hominin OTUs shares apomorphies only with geologically younger OTUs, as predicted by the hypothesis of ancestry (tree length=31; Consistency Index=0.903). This concordance of stratigraphic and character-state data supports the idea that the A. anamensis and A. afarensis samples represent parts of an anagenetically evolving lineage, or evolutionary species. Each site-sample appears to capture a different point along this evolutionary trajectory. We discuss the implications of this conclusion for the taxonomy and adaptive evolution of these early-middle Pliocene hominins.

  9. High-resolution leaf-fossil record spanning the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, K.R.; Nichols, D.J.; Attrep, M.; Orth, C.J.

    1989-01-01

    THEORIES that explain the extinctions characterizing the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary1-3 need to be tested by analyses of thoroughly sampled biotas. Palynological studies are the primary means for stratigraphic placement of the terrestrial boundary and for estimates of plant extinction4-12, but have not been combined with quantitative analyses of fossil leaves (megaflora). Megafloral studies complement palynology by representing local floras with assemblages capable of high taxonomic resolution13, but have previously lacked the sample size and stratigraphic spacing needed to resolve latest Cretaceous floral history5,14-18. We have now combined megafloral data from a 100-m-thick composite K/T boundary section in North Dakota with detailed palynological analysis. Here the boundary is marked by a 30% palynofloral extinction coincident with iridium and shocked-mineral anomalies and lies ???2 m above the highest dinosaur remains. The megaflora undergoes a 79% turnover across the boundary, and smaller changes 17- and 25-m below it. This pattern is consistent with latest Cretaceous climatic warming preceding a bolide impact. ?? 1989 Nature Publishing Group.

  10. Fossil pollen records indicate that Patagonian desertification was not solely a consequence of Andean uplift.

    PubMed

    Palazzesi, L; Barreda, V D; Cuitiño, J I; Guler, M V; Tellería, M C; Ventura Santos, R

    2014-01-01

    The Patagonian steppe-a massive rain-shadow on the lee side of the southern Andes-is assumed to have evolved ~15-12 Myr as a consequence of the southern Andean uplift. However, fossil evidence supporting this assumption is limited. Here we quantitatively estimate climatic conditions and plant richness for the interval ~10-6 Myr based on the study and bioclimatic analysis of terrestrially derived spore-pollen assemblages preserved in well-constrained Patagonian marine deposits. Our analyses indicate a mesothermal climate, with mean temperatures of the coldest quarter between 11.4 °C and 16.9 °C (presently ~3.5 °C) and annual precipitation rarely below 661 mm (presently ~200 mm). Rarefied richness reveals a significantly more diverse flora during the late Miocene than today at the same latitude but comparable with that approximately 2,000 km further northeast at mid-latitudes on the Brazilian coast. We infer that the Patagonian desertification was not solely a consequence of the Andean uplift as previously insinuated. PMID:24675482

  11. Fossil pollen records indicate that Patagonian desertification was not solely a consequence of Andean uplift

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Palazzesi, L.; Barreda, V. D.; Cuitiño, J. I.; Guler, M. V.; Tellería, M. C.; Ventura Santos, R.

    2014-03-01

    The Patagonian steppe—a massive rain-shadow on the lee side of the southern Andes—is assumed to have evolved ~15-12 Myr as a consequence of the southern Andean uplift. However, fossil evidence supporting this assumption is limited. Here we quantitatively estimate climatic conditions and plant richness for the interval ~10-6 Myr based on the study and bioclimatic analysis of terrestrially derived spore-pollen assemblages preserved in well-constrained Patagonian marine deposits. Our analyses indicate a mesothermal climate, with mean temperatures of the coldest quarter between 11.4 °C and 16.9 °C (presently ~3.5 °C) and annual precipitation rarely below 661 mm (presently ~200 mm). Rarefied richness reveals a significantly more diverse flora during the late Miocene than today at the same latitude but comparable with that approximately 2,000 km further northeast at mid-latitudes on the Brazilian coast. We infer that the Patagonian desertification was not solely a consequence of the Andean uplift as previously insinuated.

  12. Biophysical constraints on the origin of leaves inferred from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Osborne, C P; Beerling, D J; Lomax, B H; Chaloner, W G

    2004-07-13

    The molecular tool kit for producing flat-bladed photosynthetic structures evolved in marine and terrestrial plants during the middle Paleozoic, but it took a further 20 million years before leaves suddenly spread throughout land floras. This delay has long been difficult to explain, given the apparent advantage of leaves for photosynthetic primary production. Theory and experiments predict that exceptionally high atmospheric CO2 levels in the middle Paleozoic delayed the origin of leaves by restricting stomatal development. This would have limited evaporative cooling, leading to lethal overheating of leaves absorbing large quantities of solar energy. Here we test the central prediction of this argument with a morphometric analysis of 300 plant fossils from major European collections. We show a 25-fold enlargement of leaf blades in two phylogenetically independent clades as atmospheric CO2 levels fell during the late Paleozoic. Furthermore, preliminary data suggest that the first abrupt increase in leaf size was accompanied by an 8-fold rise in stomatal density. These evolutionary patterns support the relaxation of biophysical constraints on leaf area predicted by theory and point to a significant role for CO2 in plant evolution.

  13. Trace fossils and substrates of the terminal Proterozoic–Cambrian transition: Implications for the record of early bilaterians and sediment mixing

    PubMed Central

    Droser, Mary L.; Jensen, Sören; Gehling, James G.

    2002-01-01

    The trace fossil record is important in determining the timing of the appearance of bilaterian animals. A conservative estimate puts this time at ≈555 million years ago. The preservational potential of traces made close to the sediment–water interface is crucial to detecting early benthic activity. Our studies on earliest Cambrian sediments suggest that shallow tiers were preserved to a greater extent than typical for most of the Phanerozoic, which can be attributed both directly and indirectly to the low levels of sediment mixing. The low levels of sediment mixing meant that thin event beds were preserved. The shallow depth of sediment mixing also meant that muddy sediments were firm close to the sediment–water interface, increasing the likelihood of recording shallow-tier trace fossils in muddy sediments. Overall, trace fossils can provide a sound record of the onset of bilaterian benthic activity. PMID:12271130

  14. The fossil record of phenotypic integration and modularity: A deep-time perspective on developmental and evolutionary dynamics.

    PubMed

    Goswami, Anjali; Binder, Wendy J; Meachen, Julie; O'Keefe, F Robin

    2015-04-21

    Variation is the raw material for natural selection, but the factors shaping variation are still poorly understood. Genetic and developmental interactions can direct variation, but there has been little synthesis of these effects with the extrinsic factors that can shape biodiversity over large scales. The study of phenotypic integration and modularity has the capacity to unify these aspects of evolutionary study by estimating genetic and developmental interactions through the quantitative analysis of morphology, allowing for combined assessment of intrinsic and extrinsic effects. Data from the fossil record in particular are central to our understanding of phenotypic integration and modularity because they provide the only information on deep-time developmental and evolutionary dynamics, including trends in trait relationships and their role in shaping organismal diversity. Here, we demonstrate the important perspective on phenotypic integration provided by the fossil record with a study of Smilodon fatalis (saber-toothed cats) and Canis dirus (dire wolves). We quantified temporal trends in size, variance, phenotypic integration, and direct developmental integration (fluctuating asymmetry) through 27,000 y of Late Pleistocene climate change. Both S. fatalis and C. dirus showed a gradual decrease in magnitude of phenotypic integration and an increase in variance and the correlation between fluctuating asymmetry and overall integration through time, suggesting that developmental integration mediated morphological response to environmental change in the later populations of these species. These results are consistent with experimental studies and represent, to our knowledge, the first deep-time validation of the importance of developmental integration in stabilizing morphological evolution through periods of environmental change. PMID:25901310

  15. The fossil record of phenotypic integration and modularity: A deep-time perspective on developmental and evolutionary dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Goswami, Anjali; Binder, Wendy J.; Meachen, Julie; O’Keefe, F. Robin

    2015-01-01

    Variation is the raw material for natural selection, but the factors shaping variation are still poorly understood. Genetic and developmental interactions can direct variation, but there has been little synthesis of these effects with the extrinsic factors that can shape biodiversity over large scales. The study of phenotypic integration and modularity has the capacity to unify these aspects of evolutionary study by estimating genetic and developmental interactions through the quantitative analysis of morphology, allowing for combined assessment of intrinsic and extrinsic effects. Data from the fossil record in particular are central to our understanding of phenotypic integration and modularity because they provide the only information on deep-time developmental and evolutionary dynamics, including trends in trait relationships and their role in shaping organismal diversity. Here, we demonstrate the important perspective on phenotypic integration provided by the fossil record with a study of Smilodon fatalis (saber-toothed cats) and Canis dirus (dire wolves). We quantified temporal trends in size, variance, phenotypic integration, and direct developmental integration (fluctuating asymmetry) through 27,000 y of Late Pleistocene climate change. Both S. fatalis and C. dirus showed a gradual decrease in magnitude of phenotypic integration and an increase in variance and the correlation between fluctuating asymmetry and overall integration through time, suggesting that developmental integration mediated morphological response to environmental change in the later populations of these species. These results are consistent with experimental studies and represent, to our knowledge, the first deep-time validation of the importance of developmental integration in stabilizing morphological evolution through periods of environmental change. PMID:25901310

  16. THE VERY FAINT END OF THE UV LUMINOSITY FUNCTION OVER COSMIC TIME: CONSTRAINTS FROM THE LOCAL GROUP FOSSIL RECORD

    SciTech Connect

    Weisz, Daniel R.; Johnson, Benjamin D.; Conroy, Charlie

    2014-10-10

    We present a new technique to estimate the evolution of the very faint end of the UV luminosity function (LF) out to z ∼ 5. Measured star formation histories (SFHs) from the fossil record of Local Group (LG) galaxies are used to reconstruct the LF down to M {sub UV} ∼–5 at z ∼ 5 and M {sub UV} ∼–1.5 at z < 1. Such faint limits are well beyond the current observational limits and are likely to remain beyond the limits of next-generation facilities. The reconstructed LFs, when combined with direct measurements of the LFs at higher luminosity, are well-fit by a standard Schechter function with no evidence of a break to the faintest limits probed by this technique. The derived faint-end slope, α, steepens from ≈ – 1.2 at z < 1 to ≈ – 1.6 at 4 < z < 5. We test the effects of burstiness in the SFHs and find the recovered LFs to be only modestly affected. Incompleteness corrections for the faintest LG galaxies and the (unlikely) possibility of significant luminosity-dependent destruction of dwarf galaxies between high redshift and the present epoch are important uncertainties. These and other uncertainties can be mitigated with more detailed modeling and future observations. The reconstructed faint end LF from the fossil record can therefore be a powerful and complementary probe of the high-redshift faint galaxies believed to play a key role in the reionization of the universe.

  17. Neotropical mammal diversity and the Great American Biotic Interchange: spatial and temporal variation in South America's fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Carrillo, Juan D.; Forasiepi, Analía; Jaramillo, Carlos; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R.

    2015-01-01

    The vast mammal diversity of the Neotropics is the result of a long evolutionary history. During most of the Cenozoic, South America was an island continent with an endemic mammalian fauna. This isolation ceased during the late Neogene after the formation of the Isthmus of Panama, resulting in an event known as the Great American Biotic Interchange (GABI). In this study, we investigate biogeographic patterns in South America, just before or when the first immigrants are recorded and we review the temporal and geographical distribution of fossil mammals during the GABI. We performed a dissimilarity analysis which grouped the faunal assemblages according to their age and their geographic distribution. Our data support the differentiation between tropical and temperate assemblages in South America during the middle and late Miocene. The GABI begins during the late Miocene (~10–7 Ma) and the putative oldest migrations are recorded in the temperate region, where the number of GABI participants rapidly increases after ~5 Ma and this trend continues during the Pleistocene. A sampling bias toward higher latitudes and younger records challenges the study of the temporal and geographic patterns of the GABI. PMID:25601879

  18. Tectonometamorphic record in a fossilized subduction channel: insights from the Cycladic Blueschist Unit (Cyclades, Greece)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laurent, Valentin; Roche, Vincent; Jolivet, Laurent; Lanari, Pierre; Augier, Romain; Scaillet, Stéphane

    2016-04-01

    The comprehension of subduction dynamics is partly based on the reconstruction of detailed Pressure-Temperature-time-deformation paths of HP-LT metamorphic rocks, which have undergone a complete burial-exhumation cycle. The Cycladic Blueschist Unit (CBU), located in the Aegean domain (Greece), is one of the best examples of a fossilized subduction channel. The tectonometamorphic history of this domain can be summarized in two successive episodes: (1) From the Paleocene to the Eocene, the formation of the Hellenides-Taurides belt due to the convergence between Eurasia and Africa. During this episode, the entrance of the Apulian crust in the subduction zone led to an episode of crustal thickening and formation-exhumation of HP-LT metamorphic units like the CBU. (2) From the Early Oligocene, consecutively to the retreat of the African slab, back-arc extension affected the previously thickened crust and the Aegean Sea started to form. Syros and Sifnos islands are worldwide known for their excellent preservation of HP-LT parageneses in the CBU, providing one of the best case-studies to understand the tectonometamorphic evolution of a subduction channel. This study aims to decipher the P-T-t-d path of the CBU using for the first time on Syros, Raman spectroscopy of carbonaceous material to constrain metamorphic peak temperature (Beyssac et al., 2002) and a quantitative X-ray micro-mapping approach together with the program XMapTools (Lanari et al., 2014). The micro-mapping tools allowed extracting local chemical compositions observed in zoned garnets to calculate the local effective bulk composition. Forward models are then created to constrain P-T conditions of crystallization of these local assemblages. This study brings new data on the debated metamorphic peak conditions of the CBU, which undoubtedly attained at least 20 ± 2 kbar / 530 ± 50°C. Additionally, the geological and metamorphic maps of Syros and Sifnos have been totally redrawn in order to decipher the

  19. Overgrowth competition between clades: implications for interpretation of the fossil record and overgrowth indices.

    PubMed

    Barnes, D K; Dick, M H

    2000-08-01

    Overgrowth interactions (2693 in total) were observed among three major groups (arguably clades) of bryozoans--cheilostomatids (57 species), ctenostomatids (3 species), and cyclostomatids (14 species). The bryozoans studied here occur in shallow water at high-temperate polar latitudes where they encrust hard substrata such as rock piles. The main study site was the intertidal and infralittoral zones of Kodiak Island, Alaska, but observations were also made in similar zones of South Georgia Island and the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. Cheilostomatids dominated the number of species, individuals, and interactions at all depths. Intraclade interactions formed 73.7% of the encounters for cheilostomatids, 1.6% for ctenostomatids, and 5.7% for cyclostomatids. The competitive ranking of the three clades was broadly ctenostomatids > cyclostomatids > cheilostomatids. Significantly, these results contradict all previous quantitative studies of bryozoan overgrowth, in which cheilostomatids are reported to overgrow cyclostomatids at a higher rate. From these studies and the literature, we calculated win indices to vary from 0 to 0.42 for living cyclostomatids, from 0.08 to 0.9 for living cheilostomatids, and from 0.25 to 0.75 for living ctenostomatids. The win indices of cyclostomatid and cheilostomatid clades show significantly more variation in living assemblages than in fossil assemblages. This disparity may be due to differential preservation (polar and subpolar assemblages last less than 4 years). The diversity was very high in terms of both species richness and interaction types (outcomes between competitor pairs). Comparison with the literature suggests the possibility that nearshore diversity of bryozoans may be bimodal (have two peaks) between high arctic and antarctic latitudes. Indices of success in overgrowth competition have been constructed in various ways. For cheilostomatids, the method of calculation had little influence on the ranking of

  20. Arthropod eyes: The early Cambrian fossil record and divergent evolution of visual systems.

    PubMed

    Strausfeld, Nicholas J; Ma, Xiaoya; Edgecombe, Gregory D; Fortey, Richard A; Land, Michael F; Liu, Yu; Cong, Peiyun; Hou, Xianguang

    2016-03-01

    evolution of sessile eyes equipped with optics typical of extant xiphosurans. Observations of fossil material, including that of trilobites and eurypterids, support the proposition that the ancestral compound eye was the apposition type. Cambrian arthropods include possible precursors of mandibulate eyes. The latter are the modified compound eyes, now sessile, and their underlying optic lobes exemplified by scutigeromorph chilopods, and the mobile stalked compound eyes and more elaborate optic lobes typifying Pancrustacea. Radical divergence from an ancestral apposition type is demonstrated by the evolution of chelicerate eyes, from doublet sessile-eyed stem-group taxa to special apposition eyes of xiphosurans, the compound eyes of eurypterids, and single-lens eyes of arachnids. Different eye types are discussed with respect to possible modes of life of the extinct species that possessed them, comparing these to extant counterparts and the types of visual centers the eyes might have served. PMID:26276096

  1. The Source of Proterozoic Anorthosites: Bringing It All Back Home

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scoates, J. S.

    2004-05-01

    Proterozoic anorthosites are coarse-grained cumulate igneous rocks dominated by plagioclase of intermediate composition (An70-35) that occur in spatial and temporal association with both intrusions of troctolite and Fe-enriched rocks (ferrodiorite, monzonite) and with predominantly crustally-derived granitic batholiths. Given the relatively limited range of plagioclase compositions within individual intrusions, differences in plagioclase anorthite content between intrusions likely reflects primarily differences in pressures of segregation of plagioclase-rich magma bodies (An content of plag decreases with increasing pressures of crystallization). More importantly, Proterozoic anorthosite plutonic suites formed over an extended interval of time (1.2 byr) during the Middle Proterozoic from 2.1-0.9 Ga and thus are recording fundamental relationships between plate tectonics, mantle temperatures, and crust-mantle interactions over 1/4 of Earth history. Experimental work on opx-normative gabbroic/dioritic rocks from Harp Lake and Rogaland appears to show that some proposed anorthosite parental liquids lie across the trace of the plag+2-px cotectic from 1-1.3 GPa and that they straddle the thermal divide on the plag+px liquidus surface, thus apparently requiring a mafic source region (i.e. lower continental crust). It is unlikely that small amounts of dry partial melting of lower crustal granulite will produce melt compositions that are strongly plag-saturated nor will it yield the large quantities of melt (and corresponding cumulates) required by mass balance constraints. In addition, noritic-gabbronoritic lower crust is opx-normative and cannot be responsible for producing the olivine-bearing anorthosites or troctolites typical of the largest Proterozoic anorthosites. A compilation of high-Al,Fe basaltic magmas from Proterozoic anorthosite plutonic suites worldwide shows them to have compositions that are significantly less silica-rich than the opx-normative rocks that

  2. New Early Triassic trace fossil records from South China: implications for biotic recovery following the end-Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luo, M.; George, A. D.; Chen, Z.; Zhang, Y.

    2013-12-01

    New Early Triassic trace fossil assemblages are documented from the Susong and Tianshengqiao areas in South China to evaluate the mode and tempo of biotic recovery of epifaunal and infaunal organisms following the end-Permian mass extinction. The Susong succession is exposed in Anhui area of the Lower Yangtze region and comprises mudstone and carbonate facies that record overall shallowing from offshore to supratidal settings. The Tianshengqiao succession crops out in the Luoping area, Yuannan Province of the Upper Yangtze region, and consists of mixed carbonate and siliciclastic facies which were deposited in shallow marine to offshore settings. Bivalve and conodont biostratigraphy helps constrain the chronostratigraphic framework of the Lower Triassic successions in these two sections. Griesbachian to Dieneria ichnological records in both successions are characterized by low ichnodiversity, low ichnofabric indices (ii=1-2) and low bedding plane bioturbation indices (bpbi=1-2). Higher ii (ii= 3 and 4) corresponding to densely populated diminutive Skolithos in the Tianshengqiao succession suggest an opportunistic strategy during earliest Triassic deposition. Ichnological data from the Susong succession show an increase in ichnodiversity during the Smithian. A total of 12 ichnogenera including Arenicolites, Chondrites, Gyrochorte, Laevicyclus, Monocraterion, Palaeophycus, Phycodes, Plaolites, Thalassinoides, Treptichnus, Trichichnus and one problematic trace are identified. Ichnofabric indices (ii) and bpbi increase to moderate to high levels (ii = 4-5, bpbi= 3-5). Although complex traces such as Rhizocorallium are in Spathian strata in this section, the low levels of ichnodiversity, ichnofabric indices and diminutive Planolites suggest a decline in recovery. In the Tianshengqiao succession, ichnofabric indices exhibit a moderate to high value (ii= 3 to 5), however, only six ichnogenera are found and Planolites burrows are consistently small (average diameter at 3

  3. Quantitative palaeotemperature records inferred from fossil pollen and chironomid assemblages from Lake Gilltjärnen, northern central Sweden

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antonsson, Karin; Brooks, Stephen J.; Seppä, Heikki; Telford, Richard J.; Birks, H. John B.

    2006-12-01

    Palaeotemperature reconstructions based on radiocarbon-dated fossil pollen and chironomid stratigraphies obtained from Lake Gilltjärnen provide evidence of climate changes during the last 11 000 years in the boreal zone of northern central Sweden. The records show consistent trends during the early and mid-Holocene, indicating low temperatures at 11 000-10 000 cal. yr BP, followed by a rising trend and a period of maximum values from about 7000 to 4000 cal. yr BP. At 3000 cal. yr BP the chironomid-inferred temperature values rise abruptly, deviating from the late-Holocene cooling trend indicated by the pollen-based reconstruction and most of the other palaeotemperature records from central Scandinavia, probably as a result of local limnological changes in Lake Gilltjärnen and its catchment. Comparison of the present results with a lake-level reconstruction from Lake Ljustjärnen, ca. 100 km southwest of Lake Gilltjärnen, shows that the low early-Holocene temperatures were associated with high lake-levels at 10 500-8500 cal. yr BP, whereas low lake-levels and dry conditions prevailed during the period of high temperatures at between 7500 and 5000 cal.yrBP, probably due to high summer evapotranspiration and lower precipitation. Copyright

  4. When did Carcharocles megalodon become extinct? A new analysis of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Pimiento, Catalina; Clements, Christopher F

    2014-01-01

    Carcharocles megalodon ("Megalodon") is the largest shark that ever lived. Based on its distribution, dental morphology, and associated fauna, it has been suggested that this species was a cosmopolitan apex predator that fed on marine mammals from the middle Miocene to the Pliocene (15.9-2.6 Ma). Prevailing theory suggests that the extinction of apex predators affects ecosystem dynamics. Accordingly, knowing the time of extinction of C. megalodon is a fundamental step towards understanding the effects of such an event in ancient communities. However, the time of extinction of this important species has never been quantitatively assessed. Here, we synthesize the most recent records of C. megalodon from the literature and scientific collections and infer the date of its extinction by making a novel use of the Optimal Linear Estimation (OLE) model. Our results suggest that C. megalodon went extinct around 2.6 Ma. Furthermore, when contrasting our results with known ecological and macroevolutionary trends in marine mammals, it became evident that the modern composition and function of modern gigantic filter-feeding whales was established after the extinction of C. megalodon. Consequently, the study of the time of extinction of C. megalodon provides the basis to improve our understanding of the responses of marine species to the removal of apex predators, presenting a deep-time perspective for the conservation of modern ecosystems. PMID:25338197

  5. When did Carcharocles megalodon become extinct? A new analysis of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Pimiento, Catalina; Clements, Christopher F

    2014-01-01

    Carcharocles megalodon ("Megalodon") is the largest shark that ever lived. Based on its distribution, dental morphology, and associated fauna, it has been suggested that this species was a cosmopolitan apex predator that fed on marine mammals from the middle Miocene to the Pliocene (15.9-2.6 Ma). Prevailing theory suggests that the extinction of apex predators affects ecosystem dynamics. Accordingly, knowing the time of extinction of C. megalodon is a fundamental step towards understanding the effects of such an event in ancient communities. However, the time of extinction of this important species has never been quantitatively assessed. Here, we synthesize the most recent records of C. megalodon from the literature and scientific collections and infer the date of its extinction by making a novel use of the Optimal Linear Estimation (OLE) model. Our results suggest that C. megalodon went extinct around 2.6 Ma. Furthermore, when contrasting our results with known ecological and macroevolutionary trends in marine mammals, it became evident that the modern composition and function of modern gigantic filter-feeding whales was established after the extinction of C. megalodon. Consequently, the study of the time of extinction of C. megalodon provides the basis to improve our understanding of the responses of marine species to the removal of apex predators, presenting a deep-time perspective for the conservation of modern ecosystems.

  6. When Did Carcharocles megalodon Become Extinct? A New Analysis of the Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Pimiento, Catalina; Clements, Christopher F.

    2014-01-01

    Carcharocles megalodon (“Megalodon”) is the largest shark that ever lived. Based on its distribution, dental morphology, and associated fauna, it has been suggested that this species was a cosmopolitan apex predator that fed on marine mammals from the middle Miocene to the Pliocene (15.9–2.6 Ma). Prevailing theory suggests that the extinction of apex predators affects ecosystem dynamics. Accordingly, knowing the time of extinction of C. megalodon is a fundamental step towards understanding the effects of such an event in ancient communities. However, the time of extinction of this important species has never been quantitatively assessed. Here, we synthesize the most recent records of C. megalodon from the literature and scientific collections and infer the date of its extinction by making a novel use of the Optimal Linear Estimation (OLE) model. Our results suggest that C. megalodon went extinct around 2.6 Ma. Furthermore, when contrasting our results with known ecological and macroevolutionary trends in marine mammals, it became evident that the modern composition and function of modern gigantic filter-feeding whales was established after the extinction of C. megalodon. Consequently, the study of the time of extinction of C. megalodon provides the basis to improve our understanding of the responses of marine species to the removal of apex predators, presenting a deep-time perspective for the conservation of modern ecosystems. PMID:25338197

  7. Bridging Two Worlds: From the Archean to the Proterozoic

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schopf, J. William

    2000-01-01

    As now known, the Archean and Proterozoic appear to have been different worlds: the geology (tectonic style, basinal distribution, dominant rock types), atmospheric composition (O2, CO21, CH4), and surface environment (day-length, solar luminosity, ambient temperature) all appear to have changed over time. And virtually all paleobiologic indicators can be interpreted as suggesting there were significant biotic differences as well: (1) Stromatolites older than 2.5 Ga are rare relative to those of the Proterozoic; their biotic components are largely unknown; and the biogenicity of those older than approx. 3.2 Ga has been questioned. (2) Bona fide microfossils older than approx. 2.4 Ga are rare, poorly preserved, and of uncertain biological relations. Gaps of hundreds of millions of years in the known record make it impossible to show that Archean microorganisms are definitely part of the 2.4 Ga-to-present evolutionary continuum. and (3) In rocks older than approx. 2.2 Ga, the sulfur isotopic record is subject to controversy; phylogenetically distinctive bio-markers are unknown; and nearly a score of geologic units contain organic carbon anomalously light isotopically (relative to that of the Proterozoic and Phanerozoic) that may reflect the presence of Archaeans ("Archaebacteria of earlier classifications) but may not (since cellularly preserved Archean-age Archaeans have never been identified).

  8. Scaling relationships between craniofacial sexual dimorphism and body mass dimorphism in primates: implications for the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Plavcan, J Michael

    2003-01-01

    Craniofacial remains (the most abundant identifiable remains in the fossil record) potentially offer important information about body size dimorphism in extinct species. This study evaluates the scaling relationships between body mass dimorphism and different measures of craniofacial dimorphism, evaluating taxonomic differences in the magnitude and scaling of craniofacial dimorphism across higher taxonomic groups. Data on 40 dimensions from 129 primate species and subspecies demonstrate that few dimensions change proportionally with body mass dimorphism. Primates show general patterns of greater facial vs. neurocranial and orbital dimorphism, and greater dimorphism in lengths as opposed to breadths. Within any species, though, different craniofacial dimensions can yield very different reconstructions of size dimorphism. There are significant taxonomic differences in the relationships between size and craniofacial dimorphism among primate groups that can have a significant impact on reconstructions of body mass dimorphism. Hominoids tend to show lower degrees of facial dimorphism proportional to size dimorphism than other primates. This in turn implies that strong craniofacial dimorphism in Australopithecus africanus could imply very strong body size dimorphism, conflicting with the relatively modest size dimorphism inferred from postcrania. Different methods of estimating the magnitude of size dimorphism from craniofacial measurements yield similar results, and yield comparatively low percent prediction errors for a number of dimensions. However, confidence intervals for most estimates are so large as to render most estimates highly tentative.

  9. Major adaptive radiation in neritopsine gastropods estimated from 28S rRNA sequences and fossil records.

    PubMed

    Kano, Yasunori; Chiba, Satoshi; Kase, Tomoki

    2002-12-01

    A well-supported phylogeny of the Neritopsina, a gastropod superorder archaic in origin, radiated ecologically and diverse in morphology, is reconstructed based on partial 28S rRNA sequences. The result (Neritopsidae (Hydrocenidae (Helicinidae + Neritiliidae) (Neritidae + Phenacolepadidae))) is highly congruent with the fossil records and the character distribution of reproductive tracts in extant taxa. We suggest that the Neritopsina originated in subtidal shallow waters, invaded the land and became fully terrestrial at least three times in different clades, by the extinct Dawsonellidae in the Late Palaeozoic and by the Helicinidae and Hydrocenidae in the Mesozoic. Invasion of fresh- and brackish waters is prevalent among the Neritopsina as the Jurassic and freshwater ancestory is most probable for helicinids. The Phenacolepadidae, a group exclusively inhabiting dysoxic environments, colonized deep-sea hydrothermal vents and seeps in the Late Cretaceous or Early Cenozoic. Submarine caves have served as refuges for the archaic Neritopsidae since the Early to Middle Cenozoic, and the marine neritopsine slug Titiscania represents a highly specialized but relatively recent offshoot of this family. The Neritiliidae is another clade to be found utilizing submarine caves as shelter by the Oligocene; once adapted to the completely dark environment, but some neritiliids have immigrated to surface freshwater habitats. PMID:12495489

  10. The Mescal Cave Fauna (San Bernardino County, California) and testing assumptions of habitat fidelity in the Quaternary fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stegner, Mary Allison

    2015-05-01

    The late Pleistocene and Holocene vertebrate fossil record for the northern Mojave Desert (southwestern USA) is known primarily from five sites. Until now, only two of these have been radiometrically dated, and temporal placement of the others has been based on stratigraphic or biostratigraphic correlation, leading to circular interpretations of mammal extirpations in the Mojave. Here, I report a revised and complete faunal list for Mescal Cave, along with 22 AMS radiocarbon dates from 5 vertebrate taxa recovered from its deposits. The results reported here demonstrate time-averaging in Mescal Cave encompassing around ~ 34 ka, a maximum age 14 ka older and minimum age 10 ka younger than previously thought. Furthermore, radiocarbon analyses suggest local extirpation of Marmota flaviventris around 3.6 cal ka BP, considerably younger than expected based on regional patterns of warming and aridification in the Mojave. Conversely, radiocarbon dates from another presumably boreal species, Neotoma cinerea, are considerably older than expected, suggesting either that climate change at this site did not directly mirror regional patterns, that habitat requirements for these two species are not strictly boreal or cool/mesic as has often been assumed, or that local edaphic conditions and/or competitive interactions overrode the regional climatic controls on theses species' distribution.

  11. Grazing trails formed by soldier fly larvae (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) and their paleoenvironmental and paleoecological implications for the fossil record

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mangano, M.G.; Buatois, L.A.; Claps, G.L.

    1996-01-01

    Recent trails formed by soldier fly larvae (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) were examined in a shallow pond in the floodplain of a braided river in Jujuy Province, northwestern Argentina. Collected specimens were identified as Stratiomys convexa van der Wulp. Simple, irregularly meandering trails were produced across the surface of a muddy-silty substrate. Since soldier fly larvae extend their caudal respiratory tube to the water-air interface, they are restricted to extremely shallow water. The presence of benthic algal remains within the mouthparts of the larvae suggests a feeding habit of algal grazing. If preserved, these trails would be included in the ichnogenus Helminthopsis, a common element in ancient freshwater ichnofaunas. Helminthopsis preserved in pond and lacustrine margin deposits younger than Late Jurassic is regarded as one possible trace fossil analogue of the trails documented herein. Additionally, it is suggested that larvae of many aquatic Diptera with similar ecologic restrictions are potential tracemakers of Helminthopsis and other simple trails in these environments, particularly in post-Paleozoic deposits. Studies of modern shallow aquatic habitats and reexamination of the ichnologic record stress the importance of fly larvae as tracemakers in lake margin and pond ecosystems. Ecologic requirements of soldier fly larvae make them inappropriate analogues of Helminthopsis tracemakers in deeper water, lacustrine settings. ?? 1996 OPA (Overseas Publishers Association) Amsterdam B.V. Published in The Netherlands by Harwood Academic Publishers GmbH.

  12. A search for evidence of large body Earth impacts associated with biological crisis zones in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Orth, C. J.; Gilmore, J. S.; Knight, J. D.

    1985-01-01

    The natural history of the Earth, how the present plant and animal species developed, how others completely died out, etc., was studied. The rock strata sampled and studied were at the time of deposition at sea bottom. It was found that, exactly at the stratigraphic level corresponding to the extinction, a thin clay layer was greatly enriched in the the rare element iridium. It was hypothesized that the excess irridium at the boundary came from a large steroid like object that hit the earth, and that the impact of this object threw up a dust cloud dense enough and long lasting enough to bring about the extinction of a wide variety of plants and animals, producing the unique break in in the fossil record, the cretaceous-tertiary boundary. The same iridium and platinum metals enrichement are found in a thin clay layer that corresponds with the boundary as difined by sudden radical changes in plant populations. The irridium enrichement is confirmed at other fresh water origin rites in the Raton Basin.

  13. Phylogeny and rates of molecular evolution of planktonic foraminifera: SSU rDNA sequences compared to the fossil record.

    PubMed

    de Vargas, C; Zaninetti, L; Hilbrecht, H; Pawlowski, J

    1997-09-01

    Planktonic foraminifera are marine protists, whose calcareous shells form oceanic sediments and are widely used for stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental analyses. The fossil record of planktonic foraminifera is compared here to their molecular phylogeny inferred from ribosomal DNA sequences. Eighteen partial SSU rDNA sequences from species representing all modern planktonic families (Globigerinidae, Hastigerinidae, Globorotaliidae, Candeinidae) were obtained and compared to seven sequences representing the major groups of benthic foraminifera. The phylogenetic analyses indicate a polyphyletic origin for the planktonic foraminifera. The Candeinidae, the Globorotaliidae, and the clade Globigerinidae + Hastigerinidae seem to have originated independently, at different epochs in the evolution of foraminifera. Inference of their relationships, however, is limited by substitution rates of heterogeneity. Rates of SSU rDNA evolution vary from 4.0 x 10(-9) substitutions/site/year in the Globigerinidae to less than 1.0 x 10(-9) substitutions/site/year in the Globorotaliidae. These variations may be related to different levels of adaptation to the planktonic mode of life. A clock-like evolution is observed among the Globigerinidae, for which molecular and paleontological data are congruent. Phylogeny of the Globorotaliidae is clearly biased by rapid rates of substitution in two species (G. truncatulinoides and G. menardii). Our study reveals differences in absolute rates of evolution at all taxonomic levels in planktonic foraminifera and demonstrates their effect on phylogenetic reconstructions.

  14. An analysis of pterosaurian biogeography: implications for the evolutionary history and fossil record quality of the first flying vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Upchurch, Paul; Andres, Brian; Butler, Richard J.; Barrett, Paul M.

    2015-01-01

    The biogeographical history of pterosaurs has received very little treatment. Here, we present the first quantitative analysis of pterosaurian biogeography based on an event-based parsimony method (Treefitter). This approach was applied to a phylogenetic tree comprising the relationships of 108 in-group pterosaurian taxa, spanning the full range of this clade's stratigraphical and geographical extent. The results indicate that there is no support for the impact of vicariance or coherent dispersal on pterosaurian distributions. However, this group does display greatly elevated levels of sympatry. Although sampling biases and taxonomic problems might have artificially elevated the occurrence of sympatry, we argue that our results probably reflect a genuine biogeographical signal. We propose a novel model to explain pterosaurian distributions: pterosaurs underwent a series of ‘sweep-stakes’ dispersal events (across oceanic barriers in most cases), resulting in the founding of sympatric clusters of taxa. Examination of the spatiotemporal distributions of pterosaurian occurrences indicates that their fossil record is extremely patchy. Thus, while there is likely to be genuine information on pterosaurian diversity and biogeographical patterns in the current data-set, caution is required in its interpretation. PMID:26339122

  15. Integrated chronostratigraphy of Proterozoic-Cambrian boundary beds in the western Anabar region, northern Siberia.

    PubMed

    Kaufman, A J; Knoll, A H; Semikhatov, M A; Grotzinger, J P; Jacobsen, S B; Adams, W

    1996-01-01

    Carbonate-rich sedimentary rocks of the western Anabar region, northern Siberia, preserve an exceptional record of evolutionary and biogeochemical events near the Proterozoic/Cambrian boundary. Sedimentologically, the boundary succession can be divided into three sequences representing successive episodes of late transgressive to early highstand deposition; four parasequences are recognized in the sequence corresponding lithostratigraphically to the Manykal Formation. Small shelly fossils are abundant and include many taxa that also occur in standard sections of southeastern Siberia. Despite this coincidence of faunal elements, biostratigraphic correlations between the two regions have been controversial because numerous species that first appear at or immediately above the basal Tommotian boundary in southeastern sections have first appearances scattered through more than thirty metres of section in the western Anabar. Carbon- and Sr-isotopic data on petrographically and geochemically screened samples collected at one- to two-metre intervals in a section along the Kotuikan River, favour correlation of the Staraya Reckha Formation and most of the overlying Manykai Formation with sub-Tommotian carbonates in southeastern Siberia. In contrast, isotopic data suggest that the uppermost Manykai Formation and the basal 26 m of the unconformably overlying Medvezhya Formation may have no equivalent in the southeast; they appear to provide a sedimentary and palaeontological record of an evolutionarily significant time interval represented in southeastern Siberia only by the sub-Tommotian unconformity. Correlations with radiometrically dated horizons in the Olenek and Kharaulakh regions of northern Siberia suggest that this interval lasted approximately three to six million years, during which essentially all 'basal Tommotian' small shelly fossils evolved.

  16. Principal stages in evolution of precambrian organic world: Communication 2. The late proterozoic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sergeev, V. N.; Semikhatov, M. A.; Fedonkin, M. A.; Vorob'eva, N. G.

    2010-12-01

    A new suggested model outlining the evolution of the organic world from the mid-Early Proterozoic (˜2.0 Ga) to the Early Cambrian is based on data characterizing the relevant chert-embedded and compression-preserved organic-walled microbiotas, impressions of soft-bodied multicellular organisms, and biomarkers. Critical analysis of overall paleontological data resulted in the distinguishing of seven successive assemblages of Proterozoic micro- and macrofossils. Being of global geographic range, the assemblages correspond to the major stages in evolution of the organic world and typify global units which are termed the Labradorian (˜2.0-1.65 Ga), Anabarian (1.65-1.2 Ga), Turukhanian (1.2-1.03 Ga), Uchuromayan (1.03-0.85 Ga), Yuzhnouralian (0.85-0.635 Ga), Amadeusian (0.635-0.56 Ga), and Belomorian (0.56-0.535 Ga). Characteristic of the Labradorian unit are microfossil assemblages of the Gunflint type including remains of morphologically bizarre prokaryotic microorganisms: star-like Eoastrion, umbrella-shaped Kakabekia, dumbbell-shaped Xenothrix, and some others. Fine-grained siliciclastic deposits of the same age yield the oldest remains of millimeter-sized eukaryotes: spherical to ribbon-like Chuaria and Tawuia. Microfossils prevailing in shallow-water carbonate facies of the Anabarian unit are akinetes of nostocalean cyanophyceae Archaeoellipsoides and entophysalidacean cyanobacteria Eoentophysalis, whereas acanthomorphic acritarchs Tappania and Shuiyousphaeridium dominate the assemblages of open-shelf facies, where they are associated with the first-found rare macroscopic multicellular fossils Horodyskia. The distinguishing feature of the next Turukhanian unit is the first occurrence of filamentous red alga Bangiomorpha and the stalked cyanobacterium Polybessurus. The Uchuromayan unit is characterized by the appearance and worldwide radiation of structurally complicated eukaryotic microorganisms, primarily of acanthomorphic acritarchs Trachyhystrichosphaera and

  17. Review of the fossil matamata turtles: earliest well-dated record and hypotheses on the origin of their present geographical distribution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferreira, Gabriel S.; Rincón, Ascanio D.; Solórzano, Andrés; Langer, Max C.

    2016-04-01

    The matamata ( Chelus fimbriatus) is a highly aquatic chelid turtle known exclusively from northern South America. Due to its extremely modified morphology, it is well circumscribed among living taxa, but that is not the case of the two extinct species ascribed to the taxon, Chelus colombianus and Chelus lewisi. These were originally described for the Miocene of Colombia and Venezuela, respectively, and are known mostly from post-cranial material. Few traits have been considered diagnostic for these fossil taxa, and their shared geographic and temporal distributions raise doubts about their distinctiveness. Here, we describe new turtle remains from the early Miocene Castillo Formation, at Cerro la Cruz, northwestern Venezuela, assigning them to C. colombianus. We also review the taxonomy and diagnostic features of the fossil species of Chelus, comparing them with the variation recognized within C. fimbriatus. All alleged differences between the fossil Chelus species were found in our sample of the extant species, and may represent intraspecific variation of a single fossil species. Further, we reviewed the fossil record of Chelus spp. and proposed a paleobiogeographic hypothesis to explain its present geographic range.

  18. Review of the fossil matamata turtles: earliest well-dated record and hypotheses on the origin of their present geographical distribution.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Gabriel S; Rincón, Ascanio D; Solórzano, Andrés; Langer, Max C

    2016-04-01

    The matamata (Chelus fimbriatus) is a highly aquatic chelid turtle known exclusively from northern South America. Due to its extremely modified morphology, it is well circumscribed among living taxa, but that is not the case of the two extinct species ascribed to the taxon, Chelus colombianus and Chelus lewisi. These were originally described for the Miocene of Colombia and Venezuela, respectively, and are known mostly from post-cranial material. Few traits have been considered diagnostic for these fossil taxa, and their shared geographic and temporal distributions raise doubts about their distinctiveness. Here, we describe new turtle remains from the early Miocene Castillo Formation, at Cerro la Cruz, northwestern Venezuela, assigning them to C. colombianus. We also review the taxonomy and diagnostic features of the fossil species of Chelus, comparing them with the variation recognized within C. fimbriatus. All alleged differences between the fossil Chelus species were found in our sample of the extant species, and may represent intraspecific variation of a single fossil species. Further, we reviewed the fossil record of Chelus spp. and proposed a paleobiogeographic hypothesis to explain its present geographic range.

  19. Where's the glass? Biomarkers, molecular clocks, and microRNAs suggest a 200-Myr missing Precambrian fossil record of siliceous sponge spicules.

    PubMed

    Sperling, E A; Robinson, J M; Pisani, D; Peterson, K J

    2010-01-01

    The earliest evidence for animal life comes from the fossil record of 24-isopropylcholestane, a sterane found in Cryogenian deposits, and whose precursors are found in modern demosponges, but not choanoflagellates, calcareans, hexactinellids, or eumetazoans. However, many modern demosponges are also characterized by the presence of siliceous spicules, and there are no convincing demosponge spicules in strata older than the Cambrian. This temporal disparity highlights a problem with our understanding of the Precambrian fossil record--either these supposed demosponge-specific biomarkers were derived from the sterols of some other organism and are simply retained in modern demosponges, or spicules do not primitively characterize crown-group demosponges. Resolving this issue requires resolving the phylogenetic placement of another group of sponges, the hexactinellids, which not only make a spicule thought to be homologous to the spicules of demosponges, but also make their first appearance near the Precambrian/Cambrian boundary. Using two independent analytical approaches and data sets--traditional molecular phylogenetic analyses and the presence or absence of specific microRNA genes--we show that demosponges are monophyletic, and that hexactinellids are their sister group (together forming the Silicea). Thus, spicules must have evolved before the last common ancestor of all living siliceans, suggesting the presence of a significant gap in the silicean spicule fossil record. Molecular divergence estimates date the origin of this last common ancestor well within the Cryogenian, consistent with the biomarker record, and strongly suggests that siliceous spicules were present during the Precambrian but were not preserved.

  20. Microbenthic distribution of Proterozoic tidal flats: environmental and taphonomic considerations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kah, L. C.; Knoll, A. H.

    1996-01-01

    Silicified carbonates of the late Mesoproterozoic to early Neoproterozoic Society Cliffs Formation, Baffin Island, contain distinctive microfabrics and microbenthic assemblages whose paleo-environmental distribution within the formation parallels the distribution of these elements through Proterozoic time. In the Society Cliffs Formation, restricted carbonates--including microdigitate stromatolites, laminated tufa, and tufted microbial mats--consist predominantly of synsedimentary cements; these facies and the cyanobacterial fossils they contain are common in Paleoproterozoic successions but rare in Neoproterozoic and younger rocks. Less restricted tidal-flat facies in the formation are composed of laminated microbialites dominated by micritic carbonate lithified early, yet demonstrably after compaction; these strata contain cyanobacteria that are characteristic in Neoproterozoic rocks. Within the formation, the facies-dependent distribution of microbial populations reflects both the style and timing of carbonate deposition because of the strong substrate specificity of benthic cyanobacteria. A reasonable conclusion is that secular changes in microbenthic assemblages through Proterozoic time reflect a decrease in the overall representation of rapidly lithified carbonate substrates in younger peritidal environments, as well as concomitant changes in the taphonomic window of silicification through which early life is observed.

  1. Sporulation and ultrastructure in a late Proterozoic cyanophyte - Some implications for taxonomy and plant phylogeny

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cloud, P.; Moorman, M.; Pierce, D.

    1975-01-01

    Electron microscopical studies of a morphologically diverse, coccoid, presumably late Proterozoic blue-green alga are here reported. They show, together with light microscopy, that the form studied is widespread in the Cordilleran geosyncline, extend the record of well-defined endosporangia perhaps 700 million years into the past, and reveal previously unrecorded ultrastructural details. Coming from northeastern Utah, southwestern Alberta, and east central Alaska, these minute fossils belong to the recently described, morphologically diverse taxon Sphaerocongregus variabilis Moorman, are related to living entophysalidaceans, and have affinities with both the chroococcalean and chamaesiphonalean cyanophytes. Included in the morphological modes displayed by this alga are individual unicells, coenobial clusters of unicells, and a range of endosporangia comparable to those described for living entophysalidaceans. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy reveal that the endospores are commonly embedded in a vesicular matrix, that some of them show what appears to be a bilaminate or perhaps locally multilaminate wall structure, and that some remain together to mature as coenobial clones or 'colonies'. Taxonomic classification and phylogeny are discussed.

  2. Primary endosymbiosis events date to the later Proterozoic with cross-calibrated phylogenetic dating of duplicated ATPase proteins.

    PubMed

    Shih, Patrick M; Matzke, Nicholas J

    2013-07-23

    Chloroplasts and mitochondria descended from bacterial ancestors, but the dating of these primary endosymbiosis events remains very uncertain, despite their importance for our understanding of the evolution of both bacteria and eukaryotes. All phylogenetic dating in the Proterozoic and before is difficult: Significant debates surround potential fossil calibration points based on the interpretation of the Precambrian microbial fossil record, and strict molecular clock methods cannot be expected to yield accurate dates over such vast timescales because of strong heterogeneity in rates. Even with more sophisticated relaxed-clock analyses, nodes that are distant from fossil calibrations will have a very high uncertainty in dating. However, endosymbiosis events and gene duplications provide some additional information that has never been exploited in dating; namely, that certain nodes on a gene tree must represent the same events, and thus must have the same or very similar dates, even if the exact date is uncertain. We devised techniques to exploit this information: cross-calibration, in which node date calibrations are reused across a phylogeny, and cross-bracing, in which node date calibrations are formally linked in a hierarchical Bayesian model. We apply these methods to proteins with ancient duplications that have remained associated and originated from plastid and mitochondrial endosymbionts: the α and β subunits of ATP synthase and its relatives, and the elongation factor thermo unstable. The methods yield reductions in dating uncertainty of 14-26% while only using date calibrations derived from phylogenetically unambiguous Phanerozoic fossils of multicellular plants and animals. Our results suggest that primary plastid endosymbiosis occurred ∼900 Mya and mitochondrial endosymbiosis occurred ∼1,200 Mya.

  3. Primary endosymbiosis events date to the later Proterozoic with cross-calibrated phylogenetic dating of duplicated ATPase proteins.

    PubMed

    Shih, Patrick M; Matzke, Nicholas J

    2013-07-23

    Chloroplasts and mitochondria descended from bacterial ancestors, but the dating of these primary endosymbiosis events remains very uncertain, despite their importance for our understanding of the evolution of both bacteria and eukaryotes. All phylogenetic dating in the Proterozoic and before is difficult: Significant debates surround potential fossil calibration points based on the interpretation of the Precambrian microbial fossil record, and strict molecular clock methods cannot be expected to yield accurate dates over such vast timescales because of strong heterogeneity in rates. Even with more sophisticated relaxed-clock analyses, nodes that are distant from fossil calibrations will have a very high uncertainty in dating. However, endosymbiosis events and gene duplications provide some additional information that has never been exploited in dating; namely, that certain nodes on a gene tree must represent the same events, and thus must have the same or very similar dates, even if the exact date is uncertain. We devised techniques to exploit this information: cross-calibration, in which node date calibrations are reused across a phylogeny, and cross-bracing, in which node date calibrations are formally linked in a hierarchical Bayesian model. We apply these methods to proteins with ancient duplications that have remained associated and originated from plastid and mitochondrial endosymbionts: the α and β subunits of ATP synthase and its relatives, and the elongation factor thermo unstable. The methods yield reductions in dating uncertainty of 14-26% while only using date calibrations derived from phylogenetically unambiguous Phanerozoic fossils of multicellular plants and animals. Our results suggest that primary plastid endosymbiosis occurred ∼900 Mya and mitochondrial endosymbiosis occurred ∼1,200 Mya. PMID:23776247

  4. The first fossil record of the Emesinae genus Emesopsis Uhler (Hemiptera: Heteroptera, Reduviidae) from Eocene Baltic amber.

    PubMed

    Popov, Yuri A; Chłond, Dominik

    2015-01-01

    Two new fossil representatives of the assassin bug family Reduviidae are described as new from Baltic amber (Upper Eocene), belonging to the genus Emesopsis of the tribe Ploiariolini (Emesinae): Emesopsis putshkovi sp. nov. and E. similis sp. nov. These representatives of the Emesinae are the oldest fossil bugs of the genus Emesopsis known so far, and reported for the first time. This genus is also briefly diagnosed. PMID:26624642

  5. †Kenyaichthyidae fam. nov. and †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. – First Record of a Fossil Aplocheiloid Killifish (Teleostei, Cyprinodontiformes)

    PubMed Central

    Altner, Melanie; Reichenbacher, Bettina

    2015-01-01

    The extant Cyprinodontiformes (killifishes) with their two suborders Cyprinodontoidei and Aplocheiloidei represent a diverse and well-studied group of fishes. However, their fossil record is comparatively sparse and has so far yielded members of the Cyprinodontoidei only. Here we report on cyprinodontiform fossils from the upper Miocene Lukeino Formation in the Tugen Hills of the Central Rift Valley of Kenya, which represent the first fossil record of an aplocheiloid killifish. A total of 169 specimens - mostly extraordinarily well preserved - and a sample of ten extant cyprinodontiform species were studied on the basis of morphometrics, meristics and osteology. A phylogenetic analysis using PAUP was also conducted for the fossils. Both the osteological data and the phylogenetic analysis provide strong evidence for the assignment of the fossils to the Aplocheiloidei, and justify the definition of the new family †Kenyaichthyidae, the new genus †Kenyaichthys and the new species †K. kipkechi sp. nov. The phylogenetic analysis unexpectedly places †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. in a sister relationship to the Rivulidae (a purely Neotropical group), a probable explanation might be lack of available synapomorphies for the Rivulidae, Nothobranchiidae and Aplocheilidae. The specimens of †K. kipkechi sp. nov. show several polymorphic characters and large overlap in meristic traits, which justifies their interpretation as a species flock in statu nascendi. Patterns of variation in neural and haemal spine dimensions in the caudal vertebrae of †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. and the extant species studied indicate that some previously suggested synapomorphies of the Cyprinodontoidei and Aplocheiloidei need to be revised. PMID:25923654

  6. Middle Holocene daily light cycle recorded in the strontium/calcium ratios of a fossil giant clam shell

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sano, Y.; Hori, M.; Takahata, N.; Shirai, K.; Watanabe, T.

    2013-12-01

    The historical record of daily light cycle in tropical and subtropical regions is short. Moreover, it remains difficult to extract this cycle in the past from natural archives such as biogenic marine carbonates. Our previous analyses of cultivated giant clam shells (Tridacna derasa) showed a diurnal variation in the Sr/Ca ratio, which is probably reflecting the daily light cycle and not the seawater temperature [1]. In order to apply the proxy method to prehistoric era, we analyzed trace elements of a fossil giant clam shell (Tridacna gigas) which was collected at the coast of the Ishigaki Island (124 09' E, 24 20' N), southern Japan. The giant clam specimen has been living in the middle Holocene, the warmest climate after the last glacial period. An inner layer part of the sample was cut and mounted in Araldite resin disk together with a carbonate standard. This species is known to form a growth line each day [2] and we found similar Sr enrichment lines to those of the cultivated clam [1] using a EPMA. The lines may facilitate age-model determination. We carried out a preliminary analysis of Sr/Ca, Mg/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios along the growth axis with a 2-micron spot at 2 micron interval using a laterally high-resolution secondary ion mass spectrometer (NanoSIMS) installed at Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo. The Sr/Ca ratios of dark and relatively opaque area, which is probably corresponding to a cool winter [3], show striking diurnal cycle. This cycle generally consist of narrow lines of high Sr/Ca ratio and broad increments of low ratio. These variations are consistent with those of the cultivated clam [1] and pointing to the possibility of reconstructing daily light cycle at a few hour timescale in the middle Holocene. The Mg/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios also appear to indicate a diurnal cycle, but the amplitude is rather large and highly irregular, suggesting a strong biological control. Light-enhanced calcification and elemental transportation

  7. Influence of changes in climate, sea level, and depositional systems on the fossil record of the Neoproterozoic-early Cambrian metazoan radiation, Australia

    SciTech Connect

    Mount, J.F.; McDonald, C. )

    1992-11-01

    On the Australian continent the fossil record of the initial appearance and radiation of higher metazoans is strongly influenced by the distribution of facies suitable for fossil preservation. The limited stratigraphic range of the [open quotes]Ediacaran[close quotes] fauna, the seemingly abrupt appearance and radiation of Cambrian-aspect traces, and the apparently late appearance of skeletogenous organisms are all functions of the spatial and temporal distributions of key habitats. The principal controls on the formation of these habitats appear to have been changes in climate and siliciclastic sediment supply coupled with cyclic changes in sea level. Aspects of the artifactual bias documented in Australia are recognized (but rarely documented) in Precambrian-Cambrian boundary sections worldwide. This bias may ultimately form a major stumbling block to detailed reconstruction of early metazoan evolution. 43 refs., 3 figs.

  8. First evidence of a bipartite medial cuneiform in the hominin fossil record: a case report from the Early Pleistocene site of Dmanisi

    PubMed Central

    Jashashvili, Tea; Ponce de León, Marcia S; Lordkipanidze, David; Zollikofer, Christoph P E

    2010-01-01

    A medial cuneiform exhibiting complete bipartition was discovered at the Early Pleistocene site of Dmanisi, Georgia. The specimen is the oldest known instance of this anatomical variant in the hominin fossil record. Here we compare developmental variation of the medial cuneiform in fossil hominins, extant humans and great apes, and discuss potential implications of bipartition for hominin foot phylogeny and function. Complete bipartition is rare among modern humans (< 1%); incomplete bipartition was found in 2 of 200 examined great ape specimens and also appears in the form of a divided distal articular surface in the Stw573c Australopithecus africanus specimen. Although various developmental pathways lead to medial cuneiform bipartition, it appears that the bipartite bone does not deviate significantly from normal overall morphology. Together, these data indicate that bipartition represents a phyletically old developmental variant of the medial cuneiform, which does not, however, affect the species-specific morphology and function of this bone. PMID:20579174

  9. Reassessment of Olduvai Bed I cercopithecoids: A new biochronological and biogeographical link to the South African fossil record.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Christopher C; Frost, Stephen R; Delson, Eric

    2016-03-01

    Fossil monkeys have long been used as important faunal elements in studies of African Plio-Pleistocene biochronology, particularly in the case of the South African karst cave sites. Cercopithecoid fossils have been known from Tanzania's Olduvai Gorge for nearly a century, with multiple taxa documented including Theropithecus oswaldi and Cercopithecoides kimeui, along with papionins and colobines less clearly attributable to species. A small number of large papionin fossils, including a partial male cranium and partial female skull, have been previously identified as an early form of Papio, but noted as distinct from extant baboons as well as other fossil Papio species. In 2013 we reviewed the Olduvai cercopithecoid material at the National Museum of Tanzania, with a particular focus on the specimens from Beds I-IV. Quantitative and qualitative comparisons of the Olduvai papionins largely confirmed previous observations, with one notable exception. The large papionin taxon from Bed I previously recognized as Papio sp. is more properly recognized as Gorgopithecus major, a taxon previously known only from South Africa. Features shared between the Olduvai specimens and G. major include relatively short and concavo-convex tubular nasals, antero-posteriorly curved upper incisor roots, downwardly curved brow ridges in the midline, and robust zygomatic arches. The recognition of G. major at Olduvai Bed I, a well-known horizon with precise radiometric dates, provides an important biochronological and biogeographical link with South African localities Kromdraai A, Swartkrans Member 1 and possibly Swartkrans Members 2-3 and Cooper's A and D. PMID:26989016

  10. Reassessment of Olduvai Bed I cercopithecoids: A new biochronological and biogeographical link to the South African fossil record.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Christopher C; Frost, Stephen R; Delson, Eric

    2016-03-01

    Fossil monkeys have long been used as important faunal elements in studies of African Plio-Pleistocene biochronology, particularly in the case of the South African karst cave sites. Cercopithecoid fossils have been known from Tanzania's Olduvai Gorge for nearly a century, with multiple taxa documented including Theropithecus oswaldi and Cercopithecoides kimeui, along with papionins and colobines less clearly attributable to species. A small number of large papionin fossils, including a partial male cranium and partial female skull, have been previously identified as an early form of Papio, but noted as distinct from extant baboons as well as other fossil Papio species. In 2013 we reviewed the Olduvai cercopithecoid material at the National Museum of Tanzania, with a particular focus on the specimens from Beds I-IV. Quantitative and qualitative comparisons of the Olduvai papionins largely confirmed previous observations, with one notable exception. The large papionin taxon from Bed I previously recognized as Papio sp. is more properly recognized as Gorgopithecus major, a taxon previously known only from South Africa. Features shared between the Olduvai specimens and G. major include relatively short and concavo-convex tubular nasals, antero-posteriorly curved upper incisor roots, downwardly curved brow ridges in the midline, and robust zygomatic arches. The recognition of G. major at Olduvai Bed I, a well-known horizon with precise radiometric dates, provides an important biochronological and biogeographical link with South African localities Kromdraai A, Swartkrans Member 1 and possibly Swartkrans Members 2-3 and Cooper's A and D.

  11. Error in estimation of rate and time inferred from the early amniote fossil record and avian molecular clocks.

    PubMed

    van Tuinen, Marcel; Hadly, Elizabeth A

    2004-08-01

    The best reconstructions of the history of life will use both molecular time estimates and fossil data. Errors in molecular rate estimation typically are unaccounted for and no attempts have been made to quantify this uncertainty comprehensively. Here, focus is primarily on fossil calibration error because this error is least well understood and nearly universally disregarded. Our quantification of errors in the synapsid-diapsid calibration illustrates that although some error can derive from geological dating of sedimentary rocks, the absence of good stem fossils makes phylogenetic error the most critical. We therefore propose the use of calibration ages that are based on the first undisputed synapsid and diapsid. This approach yields minimum age estimates and standard errors of 306.1 +/- 8.5 MYR for the divergence leading to birds and mammals. Because this upper bound overlaps with the recent use of 310 MYR, we do not support the notion that several metazoan divergence times are significantly overestimated because of serious miscalibration (sensuLee 1999). However, the propagation of relevant errors reduces the statistical significance of the pre-K-T boundary diversification of many bird lineages despite retaining similar point time estimates. Our results demand renewed investigation into suitable loci and fossil calibrations for constructing evolutionary timescales.

  12. Paleovegetation changes recorded by n-alkyl lipids bound in macromolecules of plant fossils and kerogens from the Cretaceous sediments in Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miyata, Y.; Sawada, K.; Nakamura, H.; Takashima, R.; Takahashi, M.

    2014-12-01

    Resistant macromolecules composing living plant tissues tend to be preserved through degradation and diagenesis, hence constituate major parts of sedimentary plant-derived organic matter (kerogen), and their monomer compositions vary widely among different plant taxa, organs and growth stages. Thus, analysis of such macromolecule may serve as new technique for paleobotanical evaluation distinctive from classical paleobotnical studies depends on morphological preservation of fossils. In the present study, we analyzed plant fossils and kerogens in sediments from the Cretaceous strata in Japan to examine chemotaxonomic characteristics of fossil macromolecules and to reconstruct paleovegetation change by kerogen analysis. The kerogens were separated from the powdered sediments of Cretaceous Yezo Group, Hokkaido, Japan. All kerogens have been confirmed to be mostly originated from land plant tissues by microscopic observation. Mummified angiosperm and gymnosperm fossil leaves were separated from carbonaceous sandstone of the Cretaceous Ashizawa Formation, Futaba Group. The kerogens and plant fossils were extracted with methanol and dichloromethane, and were subsequently refluxed under 110°C to remove free compounds completely. The residues are hydrolyzed by KOH/methanol under 110°C. These released compounds are analyzed by GC-MS. As main hydrolyzed products (ester-bound molecular units) from all kerogens, C10-C28 n-alkanoic acids and C10-C30 n-alkanols were detected. Recent studies on the hydrolysis products of plant tissues suggested the long chain (>C20) n-alkanols were predominantly abundant in deciduous broadleaved angiosperms. Correspondingly, the stratigraphic variation of the ratios of long chain (>C20) n-alkanols to fatty acids was concordant with the variation of angiosperm/gymnosperm ratios recorded by land plant-derived terpenoid biomarkers. In addition, we found that the long chain n-alkanols/fatty acids ratio in the angiosperm fossil leaf was

  13. The Strontium Isotope Composition of Fossil Hackberry Seed Carbonate and Tooth Enamel as a Potential Record of Soil Erosion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooke, M. J.; Stern, L. A.; Banner, J. L.

    2001-12-01

    The Edwards Plateau in central Texas has experienced significant soil erosion since the Last Glacial Maximum. In contrast to the thin soils that mantle the Cretaceous limestone bedrock of the modern Edwards Plateau, Quaternary fossils of burrowing mammals contained within several central Texas cave deposits suggest soil cover was much thicker in the latest Pleistocene and early Holocene. As the landscape is denuded, the Cretaceous limestone bedrock is exhumed and becomes a more important source of exchangeable Sr to the soils. Therefore, the Sr isotope composition of the soil and organisms deriving nutrients from the soil, such as plants and herbivores, should become more like the Sr isotope composition of the bedrock as erosion continues. Because the marine limestone bedrock has a lower 87Sr/86Sr value than the soil, the exchangeable soil Sr should evolve to lower 87Sr/86Sr values through time resulting in a decrease in the 87Sr/86Sr of plants and animals deriving nutrients from the soil. In order to test this hypothesis, terrestrial fossils from an extensively dated Quaternary deposit within Hall's Cave, Kerr County, Texas were analyzed by TIMS for 87Sr/86Sr. The materials analyzed include aragonitic fossil hackberry seeds and rodent tooth enamel. Results indicate an overall decrease in the 87Sr/86Sr of fossil hackberry seed aragonite and rodent tooth enamel over the last 16,000 years, with the highest rate of decrease in the 87Sr/86Sr of fossil hackberry seeds (0.70982 to 0.70841) occurring between approximately 16,000 and 10,000 Y.B.P. This decrease in the 87Sr/86Sr is interpreted as evidence for an increase in the proportion of bedrock-derived Sr to the soils, corresponding to a general decrease in soil thickness. An increase in aridity or an increase in the seasonality of precipitation during this time could account for the post-glacial soil erosion in central Texas. This study suggests that the 87Sr/86Sr of fossils may be a useful proxy for paleo soil depth

  14. Where's the glass? Biomarkers, molecular clocks, and microRNAs suggest a 200-Myr missing Precambrian fossil record of siliceous sponge spicules.

    PubMed

    Sperling, E A; Robinson, J M; Pisani, D; Peterson, K J

    2010-01-01

    The earliest evidence for animal life comes from the fossil record of 24-isopropylcholestane, a sterane found in Cryogenian deposits, and whose precursors are found in modern demosponges, but not choanoflagellates, calcareans, hexactinellids, or eumetazoans. However, many modern demosponges are also characterized by the presence of siliceous spicules, and there are no convincing demosponge spicules in strata older than the Cambrian. This temporal disparity highlights a problem with our understanding of the Precambrian fossil record--either these supposed demosponge-specific biomarkers were derived from the sterols of some other organism and are simply retained in modern demosponges, or spicules do not primitively characterize crown-group demosponges. Resolving this issue requires resolving the phylogenetic placement of another group of sponges, the hexactinellids, which not only make a spicule thought to be homologous to the spicules of demosponges, but also make their first appearance near the Precambrian/Cambrian boundary. Using two independent analytical approaches and data sets--traditional molecular phylogenetic analyses and the presence or absence of specific microRNA genes--we show that demosponges are monophyletic, and that hexactinellids are their sister group (together forming the Silicea). Thus, spicules must have evolved before the last common ancestor of all living siliceans, suggesting the presence of a significant gap in the silicean spicule fossil record. Molecular divergence estimates date the origin of this last common ancestor well within the Cryogenian, consistent with the biomarker record, and strongly suggests that siliceous spicules were present during the Precambrian but were not preserved. PMID:19929965

  15. The origin and early evolution of Sauria: reassessing the permian Saurian fossil record and the timing of the crocodile-lizard divergence.

    PubMed

    Ezcurra, Martín D; Scheyer, Torsten M; Butler, Richard J

    2014-01-01

    Sauria is the crown-group of Diapsida and is subdivided into Lepidosauromorpha and Archosauromorpha, comprising a high percentage of the diversity of living and fossil tetrapods. The split between lepidosauromorphs and archosauromorphs (the crocodile-lizard, or bird-lizard, divergence) is considered one of the key calibration points for molecular analyses of tetrapod phylogeny. Saurians have a very rich Mesozoic and Cenozoic fossil record, but their late Paleozoic (Permian) record is problematic. Several Permian specimens have been referred to Sauria, but the phylogenetic affinity of some of these records remains questionable. We reexamine and review all of these specimens here, providing new data on early saurian evolution including osteohistology, and present a new morphological phylogenetic dataset. We support previous studies that find that no valid Permian record for Lepidosauromorpha, and we also reject some of the previous referrals of Permian specimens to Archosauromorpha. The most informative Permian archosauromorph is Protorosaurus speneri from the middle Late Permian of Western Europe. A historically problematic specimen from the Late Permian of Tanzania is redescribed and reidentified as a new genus and species of basal archosauromorph: Aenigmastropheus parringtoni. The supposed protorosaur Eorasaurus olsoni from the Late Permian of Russia is recovered among Archosauriformes and may be the oldest known member of the group but the phylogenetic support for this position is low. The assignment of Archosaurus rossicus from the latest Permian of Russia to the archosauromorph clade Proterosuchidae is supported. Our revision suggests a minimum fossil calibration date for the crocodile-lizard split of 254.7 Ma. The occurrences of basal archosauromorphs in the northern (30°N) and southern (55°S) parts of Pangea imply a wider paleobiogeographic distribution for the group during the Late Permian than previously appreciated. Early archosauromorph growth

  16. The Origin and Early Evolution of Sauria: Reassessing the Permian Saurian Fossil Record and the Timing of the Crocodile-Lizard Divergence

    PubMed Central

    Ezcurra, Martín D.; Scheyer, Torsten M.; Butler, Richard J.

    2014-01-01

    Sauria is the crown-group of Diapsida and is subdivided into Lepidosauromorpha and Archosauromorpha, comprising a high percentage of the diversity of living and fossil tetrapods. The split between lepidosauromorphs and archosauromorphs (the crocodile-lizard, or bird-lizard, divergence) is considered one of the key calibration points for molecular analyses of tetrapod phylogeny. Saurians have a very rich Mesozoic and Cenozoic fossil record, but their late Paleozoic (Permian) record is problematic. Several Permian specimens have been referred to Sauria, but the phylogenetic affinity of some of these records remains questionable. We reexamine and review all of these specimens here, providing new data on early saurian evolution including osteohistology, and present a new morphological phylogenetic dataset. We support previous studies that find that no valid Permian record for Lepidosauromorpha, and we also reject some of the previous referrals of Permian specimens to Archosauromorpha. The most informative Permian archosauromorph is Protorosaurus speneri from the middle Late Permian of Western Europe. A historically problematic specimen from the Late Permian of Tanzania is redescribed and reidentified as a new genus and species of basal archosauromorph: Aenigmastropheus parringtoni. The supposed protorosaur Eorasaurus olsoni from the Late Permian of Russia is recovered among Archosauriformes and may be the oldest known member of the group but the phylogenetic support for this position is low. The assignment of Archosaurus rossicus from the latest Permian of Russia to the archosauromorph clade Proterosuchidae is supported. Our revision suggests a minimum fossil calibration date for the crocodile-lizard split of 254.7 Ma. The occurrences of basal archosauromorphs in the northern (30°N) and southern (55°S) parts of Pangea imply a wider paleobiogeographic distribution for the group during the Late Permian than previously appreciated. Early archosauromorph growth

  17. Proterozoic low orbital obliquity and axial-dipolar geomagnetic field from evaporite palaeolatitudes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evans, David A. D.

    2006-11-01

    Palaeomagnetism of climatically sensitive sedimentary rock types, such as glacial deposits and evaporites, can test the uniformitarianism of ancient geomagnetic fields and palaeoclimate zones. Proterozoic glacial deposits laid down in near-equatorial palaeomagnetic latitudes can be explained by `snowball Earth' episodes, high orbital obliquity or markedly non-uniformitarian geomagnetic fields. Here I present a global palaeomagnetic compilation of the Earth's entire basin-scale evaporite record. Magnetic inclinations are consistent with low orbital obliquity and a geocentric-axial-dipole magnetic field for most of the past two billion years, and the snowball Earth hypothesis accordingly remains the most viable model for low-latitude Proterozoic ice ages. Efforts to reconstruct Proterozoic supercontinents are strengthened by this demonstration of a consistently axial and dipolar geomagnetic reference frame, which itself implies stability of geodynamo processes on billion-year timescales.

  18. Proterozoic low orbital obliquity and axial-dipolar geomagnetic field from evaporite palaeolatitudes.

    PubMed

    Evans, David A D

    2006-11-01

    Palaeomagnetism of climatically sensitive sedimentary rock types, such as glacial deposits and evaporites, can test the uniformitarianism of ancient geomagnetic fields and palaeoclimate zones. Proterozoic glacial deposits laid down in near-equatorial palaeomagnetic latitudes can be explained by 'snowball Earth' episodes, high orbital obliquity or markedly non-uniformitarian geomagnetic fields. Here I present a global palaeomagnetic compilation of the Earth's entire basin-scale evaporite record. Magnetic inclinations are consistent with low orbital obliquity and a geocentric-axial-dipole magnetic field for most of the past two billion years, and the snowball Earth hypothesis accordingly remains the most viable model for low-latitude Proterozoic ice ages. Efforts to reconstruct Proterozoic supercontinents are strengthened by this demonstration of a consistently axial and dipolar geomagnetic reference frame, which itself implies stability of geodynamo processes on billion-year timescales.

  19. Proterozoic low orbital obliquity and axial-dipolar geomagnetic field from evaporite palaeolatitudes.

    PubMed

    Evans, David A D

    2006-11-01

    Palaeomagnetism of climatically sensitive sedimentary rock types, such as glacial deposits and evaporites, can test the uniformitarianism of ancient geomagnetic fields and palaeoclimate zones. Proterozoic glacial deposits laid down in near-equatorial palaeomagnetic latitudes can be explained by 'snowball Earth' episodes, high orbital obliquity or markedly non-uniformitarian geomagnetic fields. Here I present a global palaeomagnetic compilation of the Earth's entire basin-scale evaporite record. Magnetic inclinations are consistent with low orbital obliquity and a geocentric-axial-dipole magnetic field for most of the past two billion years, and the snowball Earth hypothesis accordingly remains the most viable model for low-latitude Proterozoic ice ages. Efforts to reconstruct Proterozoic supercontinents are strengthened by this demonstration of a consistently axial and dipolar geomagnetic reference frame, which itself implies stability of geodynamo processes on billion-year timescales. PMID:17080082

  20. Distribution and diagenesis of microfossils from the lower Proterozoic Duck Creek Dolomite, Western Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Strother, P. K.; Rossi, S.

    1988-01-01

    Two distinct generations of microfossils occur in silicified carbonates from a previously undescribed locality of the Lower Proterozoic Duck Creek Dolomite, Western Australia. The earlier generation occurs in discrete organic-rich clasts and clots characterized by microquartz anhedra; it contains a variety of filamentous and coccoidal fossils in varying states of preservation. Second generation microfossils consist almost exclusively of well-preserved Gunflintia minuta filaments that drape clasts or appear to float in clear chalcedony. These filaments appear to represent an ecologically distinct assemblage that colonized a substrate containing the partially degraded remains of the first generation community. The two assemblages differ significantly in taxonomic frequency distribution from previously described Duck Creek florules. Taken together, Duck Creek microfossils exhibit a range of assemblage variability comparable to that found in other Lower Proterozoic iron formations and ferruginous carbonates. With increasing severity of post-mortem alteration, Duck Creek microfossils appear to converge morphologically on assemblages of simple microstructures described from early Archean cherts. Two new species are described: Oscillatoriopsis majuscula and O. cuboides; the former is among the largest septate filamentous fossils described from any Proterozoic formation.

  1. "Fossil" Forecasting.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brody, Michael J.; deOnis, Ann

    2001-01-01

    Presents a density study in which students calculate the density of limestone substrate to determine if the specimen contains any fossils. Explains how to make fossils and addresses national standards. (YDS)

  2. Pellet microfossils: Possible evidence for metazoan life in Early Proterozoic time

    PubMed Central

    Robbins, Eleanora Iberall; Porter, Karen Glaus; Haberyan, Kurt A.

    1985-01-01

    Microfossils resembling fecal pellets occur in acid-resistant residues and thin sections of Middle Cambrian to Early Proterozoic shale. The cylindrical microfossils average 50 × 110 μm and are the size and shape of fecal pellets produced by microscopic animals today. Pellets occur in dark gray and black rocks that were deposited in the facies that also preserves sulfide minerals and that represent environments analogous to those that preserve fecal pellets today. Rocks containing pellets and algal microfossils range in age from 0.53 to 1.9 gigayears (Gyr) and include Burgess Shale, Greyson and Newland Formations, Rove Formation, and Gunflint Iron-Formation. Similar rock types of Archean age, ranging from 2.68 to 3.8 Gyr, were barren of pellets. If the Proterozoic microfossils are fossilized fecal pellets, they provide evidence of metazoan life and a complex food chain at 1.9 Gyr ago. This occurrence predates macroscopic metazoan body fossils in the Ediacaran System at 0.67 Gyr, animal trace fossils from 0.9 to 1.3 Gyr, and fossils of unicellular eukaryotic plankton at 1.4 Gyr. Images PMID:16593599

  3. Fossil Explorers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Moran, Sean; McLaughlin, Cheryl; MacFadden, Bruce; Jacobbe, Elizabeth; Poole, Michael

    2015-01-01

    Many young learners are fascinated with fossils, particularly charismatic forms such as dinosaurs and giant sharks. Fossils provide tangible, objective evidence of life that lived millions of years ago. They also provide a timescale of evolution not typically appreciated by young learners. Fossils and the science of paleontology can, therefore,…

  4. Marquee Fossils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James

    2008-01-01

    Professors of an online graduate-level paleontology class developed the concept of marquee fossils--fossils that have one or more unique characteristics that capture the attention and direct observation of students. In the classroom, Marquee fossils integrate the geology, biology, and environmental science involved in the study of fossilized…

  5. The potential ocean acidification event at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary: Constraining carbonate chemistry using the presence of corals and coral reefs in the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martindale, R. C.; Berelson, W.; Corsetti, F. A.; Bottjer, D. J.; West, A.

    2011-12-01

    Ocean acidification associated with emplacement of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP) has been hypothesized as a kill mechanism for the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) mass extinction (~200Ma), but few direct proxies for ancient ocean acidity are available. Here, we suggest that the presence of fossil corals and coral reefs can constrain palaeocean acidity. Modern scleractinian corals lose the ability to biomineralize a robust skeleton below aragonite saturation states (ΩArag) of 2 and modern shallow water coral reefs are only found in ΩArag > 3; we use these minima to constrain ancient ocean carbonate chemistry when corals or coral reefs are preserved in the fossil record. Atmospheric pCO2 reconstructions are combined with the coral ΩArag limitations to calculate the total dissolved inorganic carbon (TCO2) in the Late Triassic Ocean, which is a measure of the buffering capacity or ocean sensitivity to acidification. Our results suggest that Late Triassic TCO2 values were low to moderate (2000-3000 μmol/kg) such that the pCO2 increases across the T-J boundary would have depressed saturation state to the point where coral biomineralization would have been challenging (ΩArag < 2), likely resulting in the observed coral and reef gap in the fossil record. While the average pCO2 elevations recorded in stomatal and pedogenic proxies are not sufficient to cause complete carbonate undersaturation, modeled scenarios for CAMP-related T-J pCO2 increases suggest that aragonite undersaturation is plausible and in extreme cases calcite undersaturation is possible. Thus, a short but extreme acidification in an ocean with a low TCO2 concentration could occur and would satisfactorily explain the significant extinction of calcareous organisms, the coral gap, and possibly the T-J carbonate crisis.

  6. A Record of Moisture History in Hawaii since the Arrival of Humans Inferred from Testate Amoebae and Cladocera Fossils Preserved in Bog Sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barrett, K.; Kim, S. H.; Hotchkiss, S.

    2015-12-01

    Around AD 800, Polynesians arrived on the Hawaiian Islands where they expanded and intensified distinct agricultural practices in the islands' wet and dry regions. Dryland farming productivity in particular would have been sensitive to atmospheric rearrangements of the ENSO and PDO systems that affect rainfall in Hawaii. The few detailed terrestrial paleoclimate records in Hawaii are mainly derived from vegetation proxies (e.g. pollen, seeds, fruits, and plant biomarkers) which are heavily influenced by widespread landscape modification following human arrival. Here we present initial results of an independent paleomoisture proxy: fossil remains of moisture-sensitive testate amoebae (Protozoa: Rhizopoda) and cladocera (water fleas) preserved in continuous bog sediments on Kohala Volcano uplsope of the ancient Kohala agricultural field system, one of the largest dryland field systems in Hawaii. Hydrologic conditions inferred from testate amoebae and cladoceran fossil assemblages correlate with observed decadal moisture regimes in Hawaii and state changes of the PDO system during the last century. Testate ameoabe and cladoceran fossils in older sediments reveal an alternating history of very wet, lake-forming conditions on the bog surface to periods when bog soils were much drier than today's, demonstrating that this method can be paired with vegetation proxies to provide a better understanding of hydroclimate variability in prehistoric Hawaii.

  7. First Fossil Record of Alphonsea Hk. f. & T. (Annonaceae) from the Late Oligocene Sediments of Assam, India and Comments on Its Phytogeography

    PubMed Central

    Srivastava, Gaurav; Mehrotra, Rakesh C.

    2013-01-01

    A new fossil leaf impression of Alphonsea Hk. f. & T. of the family Annonaceae is described from the Late Oligocene sediments of Makum Coalfield, Assam, India. This is the first authentic record of the fossil of Alphonsea from the Tertiary rocks of South Asia. The Late Oligocene was the time of the last significant globally warm climate and the fossil locality was at 10°–15°N palaeolatitude. The known palaeoflora and sedimentological studies indicate a fluvio-marine deltaic environment with a mosaic of mangrove, fluvial, mire and lacustrine depositional environments. During the depositional period the suturing between the Indian and Eurasian plates was not complete to facilitate the plant migration. The suturing was over by the end of the Late Oligocene/beginning of Early Miocene resulting in the migration of the genus to Southeast Asia where it is growing profusely at present. The present study is in congruence with the earlier published palaeofloral and molecular phylogenetic data. The study also suggests that the Indian plate was not only a biotic ferry during its northward voyage from Gondwana to Asia but also a place for the origin of several plant taxa. PMID:23349701

  8. First fossil record of Alphonsea Hk. f. & T. (Annonaceae) from the Late Oligocene sediments of Assam, India and comments on its phytogeography.

    PubMed

    Srivastava, Gaurav; Mehrotra, Rakesh C

    2013-01-01

    A new fossil leaf impression of Alphonsea Hk. f. & T. of the family Annonaceae is described from the Late Oligocene sediments of Makum Coalfield, Assam, India. This is the first authentic record of the fossil of Alphonsea from the Tertiary rocks of South Asia. The Late Oligocene was the time of the last significant globally warm climate and the fossil locality was at 10°-15°N palaeolatitude. The known palaeoflora and sedimentological studies indicate a fluvio-marine deltaic environment with a mosaic of mangrove, fluvial, mire and lacustrine depositional environments. During the depositional period the suturing between the Indian and Eurasian plates was not complete to facilitate the plant migration. The suturing was over by the end of the Late Oligocene/beginning of Early Miocene resulting in the migration of the genus to Southeast Asia where it is growing profusely at present. The present study is in congruence with the earlier published palaeofloral and molecular phylogenetic data. The study also suggests that the Indian plate was not only a biotic ferry during its northward voyage from Gondwana to Asia but also a place for the origin of several plant taxa.

  9. Fossil Microorganisms in Archaean

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Astafleva, Marina; Hoover, Richard; Rozanov, Alexei; Vrevskiy, A.

    2006-01-01

    Ancient Archean and Proterozoic rocks are the model objects for investigation of rocks comprising astromaterials. The first of Archean fossil microorganisms from Baltic shield have been reported at the last SPIE Conference in 2005. Since this confeence biomorphic structures have been revealed in Archean rocks of Karelia. It was determined that there are 3 types of such bion structures: 1. structures found in situ, in other words microorganisms even-aged with rock matrix, that is real Archean fossils biomorphic structures, that is to say forms inhabited early formed rocks, and 3. younger than Archean-Protherozoic minerali microorganisms, that is later contamination. We made attempt to differentiate these 3 types of findings and tried to understand of burial of microorganisms. The structures belongs (from our point of view) to the first type, or real Archean, forms were under examination. Practical investigation of ancient microorganisms from Green-Stone-Belt of Northern Karelia turns to be very perspective. It shows that even in such ancient time as Archean ancient diverse world existed. Moreover probably such relatively highly organized cyanobacteria and perhaps eukaryotic formes existed in Archean world.

  10. Proterozoic geology and ore deposits of Arizona

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Karlstrom, Karl E.

    1991-01-01

    Proterozoic rocks in Arizona have been the focus of interest for geologists since the late 1800's. Early investigations, led by the U.S. Geological Survey, focused on the extensive ore deposits hosted by Proterozoic rocks. By the 1960's, these studies, combined with theses from academic institutions and the efforts of the Arizona Geological Survey, had produced a rich data base of geologic maps, primarily of the central part of the Transition Zone. The chronological significance of these maps became much better known with the application of U-Pb geochronology by L.Y. Silver and his students starting in the 1960's. The 1970's and early 1980's were marked by numerous contributions from Masters and Ph.D students at a variety of academic institutions, and continued work by the U.S. Geological Survey. Interest in ore deposits persisted and there was an increasing interest in interpretation of the tectonic history of Proterozoic rocks in terms of plate tectonic models, as summarized in papers by Phillip Anderson, Ed DeWitt, Clay Conway, Paul Lindberg, and J.L Anderson in the 1989 Arizona Geological Society Digest 17: "Geologic Evolution of Arizona". The present volume: "Proterozoic Geology and Ore deposits of Arizona" builds upon A.G.S. Digest 17, and presents the results of geologic investigations from the latter part of the 1980's. A number of the papers are condensed versions of MS theses done by students at Northern Arizona University. These papers are based upon 1:10,000 mapping and structural analysis of several areas in Arizona. The geologic maps from each of these studies are available separately as part of the Arizona Geological Survey Contributed Map Series. These detailed maps, plus the continuing mapping efforts of the U.S.G.S. and students at other academic institutions, form an ever improving data base for continuing attempts to understand the Proterozoic geology and ore deposits of Arizona

  11. Palaeolithic use of fossil combustible linked to singular environmental conditions : the long term el Kowm record (Syria).

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Courty, M.-A.; Le Tensorer, J.-M.; Boëda, E.; Muhesen, S.; Alsakhel, E.; Wegmüller, F.

    2012-04-01

    Identifying the adaptation of hunter-gatherer communities to particular situations that provided natural resources is a major concern for multidisciplinary team studying archaeological contexts. This challenge is illustrated in the desertic El Kowm basin in central Syria by data from Hummal and El Kowm Paleolithic sites. The sites form prominent mounds at artesian springs resulting from recurrent episodes of lacustrine, limnic and aeolian sedimentation in pseudo-karstic depressions. The few meter sequences provide semi-continuous succession of archaeological levels from the Oldest Palaeolithic (Oldowan) to the early Neolithic period. This long term continuity of occupation is partly due to attracting conditions due to the profusion of water from epithermal artesian wells during periods of high water recharge. In addition, we document here the unique potential of this endoreic basin to have accumulated singular fossil combustible of high energy value during particular environmental episodes. The latter are represented by the recurrence of distinctive black organogenic facies showing a contrasting micro stratification formed of interlayered grey calcareous silty clay, dark brown organic rich clay and dull orange clay. Spatial excavation has shown the unique preservation of Palaeolithic occupation surfaces in association to the microstratified facies. High resolution sampling and multi-proxy analysis have allowed explaining the formation of the microstratified facies from rapid changes of environmental conditions in response to contrasting fluctuations of atmospheric dust loading, precipitation events, rainwater quality and evapotranspiration. Organogenic microfacies formed at different time periods share common compositional assemblage and structural behaviour: occurrence of exotic fine sand-sized debris formed of metal-rich carbonaceous components with polymer, fine charcoal, vitrous carbon, carbon fibres, and exotic rock clasts with a metal-rich carbonaceous

  12. A diverse Rancholabrean vertebrate microfauna from southern California includes the first fossil record of ensatina ( Ensatina eschscholtzii: Plethodontidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wake, Thomas A.; Roeder, Mark A.

    2009-11-01

    Analysis of late Pleistocene fossils recovered from near the Huntington Beach, California (USA), pier (site LACM 7679) has revealed a diverse fauna dating to approximately 40 14C ka BP. Extinct megafauna (three genera) are present; however, a microfauna including three genera of fish, five genera of amphibians, twelve genera of reptiles, two genera of birds, and ten genera of small mammals dominates the assemblage in terms of diversity. Additional identification of seven genera of non-marine mollusks and various macro- and microscopic plant remains including grasses, three families of herbs, and seven genera of trees provides a wealth of information concerning the past ecology of what is currently a coastal dune field complex. During the Rancholabrean Period, the LACM 7679 locality was approximately 10 km inland from the Pleistocene coastline and contained lush riparian zones interspersed with coastal sage scrub, a few trees, and grasslands teeming with a variety of small and large animals.

  13. The Homo habitat niche: using the avian fossil record to depict ecological characteristics of Palaeolithic Eurasian hominins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finlayson, Clive; Carrión, José; Brown, Kimberly; Finlayson, Geraldine; Sánchez-Marco, Antonio; Fa, Darren; Rodríguez-Vidal, Joaquín; Fernández, Santiago; Fierro, Elena; Bernal-Gómez, Marco; Giles-Pacheco, Francisco

    2011-06-01

    Although hardly applied to human palaeoecology, bird fossils offer a unique opportunity for quantitative studies of the hominin habitat. Here we reconstruct the Homo habitat niche across a large area of the Palaearctic, based on a database of avian fauna for Pleistocene sites. Our results reveal a striking association between Homo and habitat mosaics. A mix of open savannah-type woodland, wetlands and rocky habitats emerges as the predominant combination occupied by Homo across a wide geographical area, from the earliest populations of the Lower Palaeolithic to the latest hunter-gatherer communities of the Upper Palaeolithic. This observation is in keeping with the view that such landscapes have had long standing selective value for hominins.

  14. Regulation of atmospheric oxygen during the Proterozoic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laakso, Thomas A.; Schrag, Daniel P.

    2014-02-01

    Many studies suggest that oxygen has remained near modern levels throughout the Phanerozoic, but was much less abundant from the “Great Oxygenation Event” around 2.4 Ga until the late Neoproterozoic around 600 Ma (Kump, 2008). Using a simple model, we show that the maintenance of atmospheric pO2 at ∼1% of present atmospheric levels (PAL) is inconsistent with modern biogeochemical cycling of carbon, sulfur and iron unless new feedbacks are included. Low oxygen conditions are stable in our model if the flux of phosphorus to the oceans was greatly reduced during the Proterozoic. We propose a mechanism to reduce this flux through the scavenging of phosphate ions with an “iron trap” driven by greater surface mobility of ferrous iron in a low pO2 world. Incorporating this feedback leads to two stable equilibria for atmospheric oxygen, the first quantitative hypothesis to explain both Proterozoic and Phanerozoic O2 concentrations.

  15. A Laughing Gas Greenhouse for the Proterozoic?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roberson, A. L.; Roadt, J.; Halevy, I.; Kasting, J. F.

    2010-12-01

    An anoxic, sulfidic ‘Canfield ocean’ during the Proterozoic (0.75-2.3 Ga) would have had limited trace metal abundances because of the low solubility of metal sulfides. The limitation on copper, specifically, would have had a significant impact on marine denitrification. Copper is needed for the enzyme that controls the final step of denitrification, from N2O to N2. Today, only about 5-6 percent of denitrification results in release of N2O. If all denitrification stopped at N2O during the Proterozoic, the N2O flux could have been 15-20 times higher than today. Other parts of the nitrogen cycle should have been able to operate at rates comparable to today, as catalysts for these reactions should have existed. The high N2O flux should have created higher atmospheric N2O concentrations; although this effect may have been offset by faster rates of N2O photolysis if O2 concentrations were lower than today. N2O concentrations of 0.3 to 30 ppmv, along with methane levels of 30-100 ppm, could have kept the surface warm during the Proterozoic without necessitating high CO2 levels. The high methane concentrations were a consequence of lack of dissolved O2 and sulfate in the deep ocean, which should have led to a high CH4 flux from marine sediments. A second oxygenation event at the end of the Proterozoic would have resulted in a shift to a more modern ocean and, consequently, more modern concentrations of atmospheric N2O and CH4.

  16. Imprint of Climate Variability on Mesozoic Fossil Tree Rings: Evidences of Solar Activity Signals on Environmental Records Around 200 Million Years Ago?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prestes, A.; Rigozo, N. R.; Nordemann, D. J. R.; Echer, E.; Vieira, L. E. A.; Souza Echer, M. P.; Wrasse, C. M.; Guarnieri, F. L.

    2014-08-01

    Evidence of the solar activity modulation of the Earth's climate has been observed on several parameters, from decadal to millennial time scales. Several proxies have been used to reconstruct the paleoclimate as well as the solar activity. The paleoclimate reconstructions are based on direct and/or indirect effects of global and regional climate conditions. The solar activity reconstructions are based on the production of the 14C isotope due to the interaction of cosmic ray flux and the Earth's atmosphere. Because trees respond to climate conditions and store 14C, they have been used as proxies for both for climate and solar activity reconstructions. The imprints of solar activity cycles dating back to 10,000 years ago have been observed on tree-ring samples using 14C data, and those dating back to 20 million years ago have been analyzed using fossil tree-growth rings. All this corresponds to the Cenozoic era. However, solar activity imprints on tree rings from earlier than that era have not been investigated yet. In this work, we showed that tree rings from the Mesozoic Era (of ~200 million years ago) recorded 11- and 22-year cycles, which may be related to solar activity cycles, and that were statistically significant at the 95 % confidence level. The fossil wood was collected in the southern region of Brazil. Our analysis of the fossils' tree-ring width series power spectra showed characteristics similar to the modern araucaria tree, with a noticeable decadal periodicity. Assuming that the Earth's climate responds to solar variability and that responses did not vary significantly over the last ~200 million years, we conclude that the solar-climate connection was likely present during the Mesozoic era.

  17. Fossil Fuels.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Crank, Ron

    This instructional unit is one of 10 developed by students on various energy-related areas that deals specifically with fossil fuels. Some topics covered are historic facts, development of fuels, history of oil production, current and future trends of the oil industry, refining fossil fuels, and environmental problems. Material in each unit may…

  18. Ediacara Fossils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Science Teacher, 2005

    2005-01-01

    Now, a research team from Virginia Tech and Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology has discovered uniquely well-preserved fossil forms from 550-million-year-old rocks of the Ediacaran Period. The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The discovery of these unusually preserved fossils reveals unprecedented…

  19. Proterozoic orogens in southern Peninsular India: Contiguities and complexities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chetty, T. R. K.; Santosh, M.

    2013-12-01

    The Precambrian terranes of southern Peninsular India have been central to discussions on the history of formation and breakup of supercontinents. Of particular interest are the Proterozoic high grade metamorphic orogens at the southern and eastern margins of the Indian shield, skirting the 3.4 Ga Dharwar craton which not only preserve important records of lower crustal processes and lithospheric geodynamics, but also carry imprints of the tectonic framework related to the assembly of the major Neoproterozoic supercontinents - Rodinia and Gondwana. These Proterozoic orogens are described as Southern Granulite Terrane (SGT) in the southern tip and the Eastern Ghats Mobile Belt (EGMB) in the eastern domains of the peninsula. The contiguity of these orogens is broken for a distance of ˜400 km and disappears in the Bay of Bengal. These orogens expose windows of middle to lower crust with well-preserved rock records displaying multiple tectonothermal events and multiphase exhumation paths.Recent studies in these orogens have led to the recognition of discrete crustal blocks or terranes separated by major shear zone systems, some of which represent collisional sutures. The SGT and EGMB carry several important features such as fold-thrust tectonics, regional granulite facies metamorphism of up to ultrahigh-temperature conditions in some cases, multiple P-T paths, development of lithospheric shear zones, emplacement of ophiolites, presence of alkaline and anorthositic complexes, development of crustal-scale "flower structures", transpressional strains, and reactivation tectonics. A heterogeneous distribution of different metamorphic and magmatic assemblages with distinct spatial and temporal strain variations in shaping the fabric elements in different blocks is identified. Both EGMB and SGT share a common transpressional deformation history during the latest Neoproterozoic characterized by the steepening of the initial low angle crustal scale structures leading to a

  20. Calcium-phosphate biomineralization induced by alkaline phosphatase activity in Escherichia coli: localization, kinetics and potential signatures in the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cosmidis, Julie; Benzerara, Karim; Guyot, François; Skouri-Panet, Fériel; Duprat, Elodie; Férard, Céline; Guigner, Jean-Michel; Babonneau, Florence; Coelho, Cristina

    2015-12-01

    Bacteria are thought to play an important role in the formation of calcium-phosphate minerals composing marine phosphorites, as supported by the common occurrence of fossil microbes in these rocks. Phosphatase enzymes may play a key role in this process. Indeed, they may increase the supersaturation with respect to Ca-phosphates by releasing orthophosphate ions following hydrolysis of organic phosphorus. However, several questions remain unanswered about the cellular-level mechanisms involved in this model, and its potential signatures in the mineral products. We studied Ca-phosphate precipitation by different strains of Escherichia coli which were genetically modified to differ in the abundance and cellular localization of the alkaline phosphatase (PHO A) produced. The mineral precipitated by either E. coli or purified PHO A was invariably identified as a carbonate-free non-stoichiometric hydroxyapatite. However, the bacterial precipitates could be discriminated from the ones formed by purified PHO A at the nano-scale. PHO A localization was shown to influence the pattern of Ca-phosphate nucleation and growth. Finally, the rate of calcification was proved to be consistent with the PHO A enzyme kinetics. Overall, this study provides mechanistic keys to better understand phosphogenesis in the environment, and experimental references to better interpret the microbial fossil record in phosphorites.

  1. Paleobiology of distinctive benthic microfossils from the upper Proterozoic Limestone-Dolomite "Series," central East Greenland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Green, J. W.; Knoll, A. H.; Golubic, S.; Swett, K.

    1987-01-01

    Populations of Polybessurus bipartitus Fairchild ex Green et al., a large morphologically distinctive microfossil, occur in silicified carbonates of the Upper Proterozoic (700-800 Ma) Limestone-Dolomite "Series," central East Greenland. Large populations of well-preserved individuals permit reconstruction of P. bipartitus as a coccoidal unicell that "jetted" upward from the sediment by the highly unidirectional secretion of extracellular mucopolysaccharide envelopes. Reproduction by baeocyte formation is inferred on the basis of clustered envelope stalks produced by small cells. Sedimentological evidence indicates that P. bipartitus formed surficial crusts locally within a shallow peritidal carbonate platform. Among living microorganisms a close morphological, reproductive, and behavioral counterpart to Polybessurus is provided by populations of an as yet underscribed cyanobacterium found in coastal Bahamian environments similar to those in which the Proterozoic fossils occur. In general morphology and "jetting" behavior, this population resembles species of the genus Cyanostylon, Geitler (1925), but reproduces via baeocyte formation. Polybessurus is but one of the more than two dozen taxa in the richly fossiliferous biota of the Limestone-Dolomite "Series." This distinctive population, along with co-occurring filamentous cyanobacteria and other microfossils, contributes to an increasingly refined picture of ecological heterogeneity in late Proterozoic oceans.

  2. Synthesis of Early and Middle Proterozoic orogenies in the southwest

    SciTech Connect

    Karlstrom, K.E. . Dept. of Geology)

    1993-02-01

    Accretion of juvenile crust from 1.8 (Colorado) to 1.72 (Arizona) was accompanied by formation, evolution, and assembly of oceanic island arcs in an Indonesian-style orogenic belt. 2.5--2.0 Ga crust formed basement for arcs in the Mojave Province. The Hualapai block marks a zone where arcs were built across the transition from 2.5--2.0 Ga (NW) to juvenile 1.75--1.72 Ga crust (SE). Early NW-striking low-angle foliations formed between 1.74--1.72 Ga and record arc accretion and outboard collisions. Sutures and major transcurrent boundaries between arcs terranes remain cryptic because of 1.7--1.69 Ga crustal shortening that records welding of terranes to Laurentia. 1.7 Ga quartzite-rhyolite sections from a belt parallel to the southern extent of 1.8--1.72 Ga crust and were syntectonic craton margin and intracratonic basins. Depositions of 1.65 Ga quartzite-rhyolite sections took place during the collision of the Mazatzal province. A major boundary between crustal provinces is marked by the Slate Creek shear zone (AZ) - Jemez lineament (NM) although Mazatzal (1.65 Ga) deformation affected the foreland of the Yavapai Province to the north. The Laurasian supercontinent was assembled by 1.6 Ga and tectonism paused in the Southwest (1.6--1.5 Ga) without appreciable uplift of crust. Middle Proterozoic tectonism (1.5--1.3 Ga) has many of the hallmarks of an orogeny rather than anorogeny'. It involved massive lower crustal melting, granitoid plutonism, regional uplift and unroofing of 10-15 km, regional resetting of Rb-Sr and K-Ar isotopic systems, addition of juvenile crust in the Mid-continent, and locally important deformation and metamorphism around plutons and perhaps over large regions. Pluton generation and ascent were strongly controlled by Early Proterozoic lithospheric structure.

  3. Iron isotope composition of some Archean and Proterozoic iron formations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Planavsky, Noah; Rouxel, Olivier J.; Bekker, Andrey; Hofmann, Axel; Little, Crispin T. S.; Lyons, Timothy W.

    2012-03-01

    Fe isotopes can provide new insight into redox-dependent biogeochemical processes. Precambrian iron formations (IF) are deserving targets for Fe isotope studies because they are composed predominantly of authigenic Fe phases and record a period of unprecedented iron deposition in Earth's history. We present Fe isotope data for bulk samples from 24 Archean and Proterozoic IF and eight Phanerozoic Fe oxide-rich deposits. These data reveal that many Archean and early Paleoproterozoic iron formations were a sink for isotopically heavy Fe, in contrast to later Proterozoic and Phanerozoic Fe oxide-rich rocks. The positive δ56Fe values in IF are best explained by delivery of particulate ferric oxides formed in the water column to the sediment-water interface. Because IF are a net sink for isotopically heavy Fe, there must be a corresponding pool of isotopically light Fe in the sedimentary record. Earlier work suggested that Archean pyritic black shales were an important part of this light sink before 2.35 billion years ago (Ga). It is therefore likely that the persistently and anomalously low δ56Fe values in shales are linked with the deposition of isotopically heavy Fe in IF in the deeper parts of basins. IF deposition produced a residual isotopically light dissolved Fe pool that was captured by pyritic Fe in shales. Local dissimilatory Fe reduction in porewater and associated diagenetic reactions resulting in pyrite and carbonate precipitation may have further enhanced Fe isotope heterogeneity in marine sediments, and an 'iron shuttle' may have transported isotopically light Fe from shelf sediments to the basin. Nevertheless, water-column processing of hydrothermally delivered Fe likely had the strongest influence on the bulk iron isotope composition of Archean and Paleoproterozoic iron formations and other marine sediments.

  4. A Prejudiced Review of Ancient Parasites and Their Host Echinoderms: CSI Fossil Record or Just an Excuse for Speculation?

    PubMed

    Donovan, Stephen K

    2015-01-01

    Recognizing the presence of a parasite and identifying it is a relatively straightforward task for the twenty-first century parasitologist. Not so the pursuit of ancient parasites in fossil organisms, a much more difficult proposition. Herein, Boucot's seven-tiered scheme of reliability classes is applied as a measure of confidence of the recognition of putative parasitism in two echinoderm classes, Upper Palaeozoic crinoids and a Cretaceous echinoid (high confidence is 1, low confidence 7). Of the five examples, the parasitic(?) organism is preserved in only two of them. A zaphrentoid coral on the camerate crinoid Amphoracrinus may have robbed food from the arms (Category 1 or 2B). A pit in what appears to be a carefully selected site on the disparid crinoid Synbathocrinus is associated with a growth deformity of the cup (Category 4). Multiple pits in an Amphoracrinus theca are also associated with a deformed cup, but it is more difficult to interpret (Category 4 or 7). Some specimens of the camerate crinoid Neoplatycrinites have circular grooves or depressions posteriorly, presumably produced by coprophagic/parasitic platyceratid gastropods (Category 1). Site selectivity of pits in the echinoid Hemipneustes places them preferentially adjacent to respiratory tube feet (Category 4). From these examples it is deduced that sparse infestations of borings or epizoozoic organisms permit a more confident interpretation of organism/organism interactions; dense accumulations, possibly following multiple spatfalls, mask such patterns. PMID:26597070

  5. Microbial fossil record of rocks from the Ross Desert, Antarctica: implications in the search for past life on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wierzchos, Jacek; Ascaso, Carmen

    2002-01-01

    Cryptoendolithic microbial communities living within Antarctic rocks are an example of survival in an extremely cold and dry environment. The extinction of these micro-organisms formerly colonizing sandstone in the Mount Fleming area (Ross Desert), was probably provoked by the hostile environment. This is considered to be a good terrestrial analogue of the first stage of the disappearance of possible life on early Mars. To date, only macroscopically observed indirect biomarkers of the past activity of cryptoendoliths in Antarctic rocks have been described. The present paper confirms, for the first time, the existence of cryptoendolith microbial fossils within these sandstone rocks. The novel in situ application of scanning electron microscopy with backscattered electron imaging and simultaneous use of X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy allowed the clear detection of microfossils left behind by Antarctic endoliths. Careful interpretation of the morphological features of cells, such as preserved cell walls in algae, fungi and bacteria, cytoplasm elements such as chloroplast membranes in algae and organic matter traces, mineral associations, and the spatial context of these structures all point to their identification as cryptoendolith microfossils. This type of investigation will prompt the development of research strategies aimed at locating and identifying the signs that Martian microbiota, probably only bacteria if they existed, may have been left for us to see.

  6. Plant and insect fossils at Norwood in south-central Minnesota: A record of late-glacial succession*1

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ashworth, Allan C.; Schwert, Donald P.; Watts, William A.; Wright, H. E.

    1981-07-01

    The Norwood site in Sibley Co., Minnesota, contains 1.6 m of silt resting on till and overlain by peat. The base of the peat has been radiocarbon dated at 12,400 ± 60 and the top at 11,200 ± 250 yr B.P. The pollen, plant macrofossils, and insect remains in the basal silt consist of boreal species inhabiting open environments, but not tundra. No modern analogue exists for the insect assemblage, which includes elements of boreal forest, tundra-forest, and western affinities. The transition from an unstable open environment to a stable coniferous forest is reflected by both plant and insect fossils and is interpreted as a successional rather than a climatic event. During this time of significant biologic change, the climate is inferred to have been relatively uniform, with temperatures similar to those presently existing in the boreal forest south of the tundra-forest transition zone. The geologic and ecologic succession at Norwood is generally similar to that presently associated with ice stagnation of the Klutlan Glacier in the Yukon Territory. Localized successional sequences similar to those at Norwood are conceived to have occurred repeatedly during the melting of the Laurentide ice, and thus the proposed model has potentially broad application to the interpretation of late-glacial sequences.

  7. Osteological associations with unique tooth development in manatees (Trichechidae, Sirenia): a detailed look at modern Trichechus and a review of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Beatty, Brian Lee; Vitkovski, Taisia; Lambert, Olivier; Macrini, Thomas E

    2012-09-01

    Modern manatees have a unique type of tooth development, continually forming identical new molars in the posterior end of each quadrant of their mouths, and then progressively moving teeth anteriorly, only to reabsorb roots and spit out worn crowns. This process is not only developmentally complex, but requires space in the oral cavity that imposes its own limitations on other uses of that space. To gain a clearer understanding of the anatomical constraints on the evolution of this unique developmental process, we identified the specialized craniodental features in modern Trichechus that permit this specialization using visual observation and CT. Furthermore, to better understand the evolution of these traits, we review the fossil record of trichechids for these traits, including CT analysis of the skull of Miosiren kocki, a possible early member of the family from the Early Miocene of Belgium.

  8. Osteological associations with unique tooth development in manatees (Trichechidae, Sirenia): a detailed look at modern Trichechus and a review of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Beatty, Brian Lee; Vitkovski, Taisia; Lambert, Olivier; Macrini, Thomas E

    2012-09-01

    Modern manatees have a unique type of tooth development, continually forming identical new molars in the posterior end of each quadrant of their mouths, and then progressively moving teeth anteriorly, only to reabsorb roots and spit out worn crowns. This process is not only developmentally complex, but requires space in the oral cavity that imposes its own limitations on other uses of that space. To gain a clearer understanding of the anatomical constraints on the evolution of this unique developmental process, we identified the specialized craniodental features in modern Trichechus that permit this specialization using visual observation and CT. Furthermore, to better understand the evolution of these traits, we review the fossil record of trichechids for these traits, including CT analysis of the skull of Miosiren kocki, a possible early member of the family from the Early Miocene of Belgium. PMID:22777871

  9. Parasites in the Fossil Record: A Cretaceous Fauna with Isopod-Infested Decapod Crustaceans, Infestation Patterns through Time, and a New Ichnotaxon

    PubMed Central

    Klompmaker, Adiël A.; Artal, Pedro; van Bakel, Barry W. M.; Fraaije, René H. B.; Jagt, John W. M.

    2014-01-01

    Parasites are common in modern ecosystems and are also known from the fossil record. One of the best preserved and easily recognisable examples of parasitism in the fossil record concerns isopod-induced swellings in the branchial chamber of marine decapod crustaceans. However, very limited quantitative data on the variability of infestation percentages at the species, genus, and family levels are available. Here we provide this type of data for a mid-Cretaceous (upper Lower Cretaceous, upper Albian) reef setting at Koskobilo, northern Spain, on the basis of 874 specimens of anomurans and brachyurans. Thirty-seven specimens (4.2%), arranged in ten species, are infested. Anomurans are more heavily infested than brachyurans, variability can be high within genera, and a relationship may exist between the number of specimens and infestation percentage per taxon, possibly suggesting host-specificity. We have also investigated quantitative patterns of infestation through geological time based on 88 infested species (25 anomurans, 55 brachyurans, seven lobsters, and one shrimp), to show that the highest number of infested species can be found in the Late Jurassic, also when corrected for the unequal duration of epochs. The same Late Jurassic peak is observed for the percentage of infested decapod species per epoch. This acme is caused entirely by infested anomurans and brachyurans. Biases (taphonomic and otherwise) and causes of variability with regard to the Koskobilo assemblage and infestation patterns through time are discussed. Finally, a new ichnogenus and -species, Kanthyloma crusta, are erected to accommodate such swellings or embedment structures (bioclaustrations). PMID:24667587

  10. A high-elevation, multi-proxy biotic and environmental record of MIS 6-4 from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miller, Ian M.; Pigati, Jeffrey S.; Anderson, R. Scott; Johnson, Kirk R.; Mahan, Shannon; Ager, Thomas A.; Baker, Richard G.; Blaauw, Maarten; Bright, Jordon; Brown, Peter M.; Bryant, Bruce; Calamari, Zachary T.; Carrara, Paul E.; Michael D., Cherney; Demboski, John R.; Elias, Scott A.; Fisher, Daniel C.; Gray, Harrison J.; Haskett, Danielle R.; Honke, Jeffrey S.; Jackson, Stephen T.; Jiménez-Moreno, Gonzalo; Kline, Douglas; Leonard, Eric M.; Lifton, Nathaniel A.; Lucking, Carol; McDonald, H. Gregory; Miller, Dane M.; Muhs, Daniel R.; Nash, Stephen E.; Newton, Cody; Paces, James B.; Petrie, Lesley; Plummer, Mitchell A.; Porinchu, David F.; Rountrey, Adam N.; Scott, Eric; Sertich, Joseph J. W.; Sharpe, Saxon E.; Skipp, Gary L.; Strickland, Laura E.; Stucky, Richard K.; Thompson, Robert S.; Wilson, Jim

    2014-01-01

    In North America, terrestrial records of biodiversity and climate change that span Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 are rare. Where found, they provide insight into how the coupling of the ocean–atmosphere system is manifested in biotic and environmental records and how the biosphere responds to climate change. In 2010–2011, construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA) revealed a nearly continuous, lacustrine/wetland sedimentary sequence that preserved evidence of past plant communities between ~ 140 and 55 ka, including all of MIS 5. At an elevation of 2705 m, the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site also contained thousands of well-preserved bones of late Pleistocene megafauna, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, horses, camels, deer, bison, black bear, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the site contained more than 26,000 bones from at least 30 species of small animals including salamanders, otters, muskrats, minks, rabbits, beavers, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. The combination of macro- and micro-vertebrates, invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic plant macrofossils, a detailed pollen record, and a robust, directly dated stratigraphic framework shows that high-elevation ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are climatically sensitive and varied dramatically throughout MIS 5.

  11. A high-elevation, multi-proxy biotic and environmental record of MIS 6–4 from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado, USA

    SciTech Connect

    Ian M. Miller; Mitchell A. Plummer; Various Others

    2014-10-01

    In North America, terrestrial records of biodiversity and climate change that span Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 are rare. Where found, they provide insight into how the coupling of the ocean–atmosphere system is manifested in biotic and environmental records and how the biosphere responds to climate change. In 2010–2011, construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA) revealed a nearly continuous, lacustrine/wetland sedimentary sequence that preserved evidence of past plant communities between ~140 and 55 ka, including all of MIS 5. At an elevation of 2705 m, the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site also contained thousands of well-preserved bones of late Pleistocene megafauna, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, horses, camels, deer, bison, black bear, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the site contained more than 26,000 bones from at least 30 species of small animals including salamanders, otters, muskrats, minks, rabbits, beavers, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. The combination of macro- and micro-vertebrates, invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic plant macrofossils, a detailed pollen record, and a robust, directly dated stratigraphic framework shows that high-elevation ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are climatically sensitive and varied dramatically throughout MIS 5

  12. The extinct river shark Glyphis pagoda from the Miocene of Myanmar and a review of the fossil record of the genus Glyphis (Carcharhiniformes: Carcharhinidae).

    PubMed

    Shimada, Kenshu; Egi, Naoko; Tsubamoto, Takehisa; Maung-Maung, Maung-Maung; Thaung-Htike, Thaung-Htike; Zin-Maung-Maung-Thein, Zin-Maung-Maung-Thein; Nishioka, Yuichiro; Sonoda, Teppei; Takai, Masanaru

    2016-01-01

    We redescribe an extinct river shark, Glyphis pagoda (Noetling), on the basis of 20 teeth newly collected from three different Miocene localities in Myanmar. One locality is a nearshore marine deposit (Obogon Formation) whereas the other two localities represent terrestrial freshwater deposits (Irrawaddy sediments), suggesting that G. pagoda from the Irrawaddy sediments was capable of tolerating low salinity like the extant Glyphis. Glyphis pagoda likely reached up to at least 185 cm in total body length and was probably piscivorous. The fossil species occurs in rocks of Myanmar and eastern and western India and stratigraphically ranges at least from the Lower Miocene (Aquitanian) to the lower Upper Miocene (mid-Tortonian). It has been classified under at least eight other genera to date, along with numerous taxonomic synonyms largely stemming from the lack of understanding of the heterodonty in extant Glyphis in the original description. Our literature review suggests that known Miocene shark faunas, particularly those in India, are manifested with unreliable taxonomic identifications and outdated classifications that warrant the need for a comprehensive taxonomic review in order to evaluate the evolutionary history and diversity pattern of Miocene shark faunas. The genus Glyphis has a roughly 23-million-year-long history, and its success may be related to the evolution of its low salinity tolerance. While extant Glyphis spp. are considered to be particularly vulnerable to habitat degradation and overfishing, the fossil record of G. pagoda provides renewed perspective on the natural history of the genus that can be taken into further consideration for conservation biology of the extant forms. PMID:27615926

  13. The extinct river shark Glyphis pagoda from the Miocene of Myanmar and a review of the fossil record of the genus Glyphis (Carcharhiniformes: Carcharhinidae).

    PubMed

    Shimada, Kenshu; Egi, Naoko; Tsubamoto, Takehisa; Maung-Maung, Maung-Maung; Thaung-Htike, Thaung-Htike; Zin-Maung-Maung-Thein, Zin-Maung-Maung-Thein; Nishioka, Yuichiro; Sonoda, Teppei; Takai, Masanaru

    2016-09-05

    We redescribe an extinct river shark, Glyphis pagoda (Noetling), on the basis of 20 teeth newly collected from three different Miocene localities in Myanmar. One locality is a nearshore marine deposit (Obogon Formation) whereas the other two localities represent terrestrial freshwater deposits (Irrawaddy sediments), suggesting that G. pagoda from the Irrawaddy sediments was capable of tolerating low salinity like the extant Glyphis. Glyphis pagoda likely reached up to at least 185 cm in total body length and was probably piscivorous. The fossil species occurs in rocks of Myanmar and eastern and western India and stratigraphically ranges at least from the Lower Miocene (Aquitanian) to the lower Upper Miocene (mid-Tortonian). It has been classified under at least eight other genera to date, along with numerous taxonomic synonyms largely stemming from the lack of understanding of the heterodonty in extant Glyphis in the original description. Our literature review suggests that known Miocene shark faunas, particularly those in India, are manifested with unreliable taxonomic identifications and outdated classifications that warrant the need for a comprehensive taxonomic review in order to evaluate the evolutionary history and diversity pattern of Miocene shark faunas. The genus Glyphis has a roughly 23-million-year-long history, and its success may be related to the evolution of its low salinity tolerance. While extant Glyphis spp. are considered to be particularly vulnerable to habitat degradation and overfishing, the fossil record of G. pagoda provides renewed perspective on the natural history of the genus that can be taken into further consideration for conservation biology of the extant forms.

  14. Terminal Proterozoic reorganization of biogeochemical cycles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Logan, G. A.; Hayes, J. M.; Hieshima, G. B.; Summons, R. E.

    1995-01-01

    The Proterozoic aeon (2,500-540 million years ago) saw episodic increases in atmospheric oxygen content, the evolution of multicellular life and, at its close, an enormous radiation of animal diversity. These profound biological and environmental changes must have been linked, but the underlying mechanisms have been obscure. Here we show that hydrocarbons extracted from Proterozoic sediments in several locations worldwide are derived mainly from bacteria or other heterotrophs rather than from photosynthetic organisms. Biodegradation of algal products in sedimenting matter was therefore unusually complete, indicating that organic material was extensively reworked as it sank slowly through the water column. We propose that a significant proportion of this reworking will have been mediated by sulphate-reducing bacteria, forming sulphide. The production of sulphide and consumption of oxygen near the ocean surface will have inhibited transport of O2 to the deep ocean. We find that preservation of algal-lipid skeletons improves at the beginning of the Cambrian, reflecting the increase in transport by rapidly sinking faecal pellets. We suggest that this rapid removal of organic matter will have increased oxygenation of surface waters, leading to a descent of the O2-sulphide interface to the sea floor and to marked changes in the marine environment, ultimately contributing to the Cambrian radiation.

  15. Fossilization of feathers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davis, Paul G.; Briggs, Derek E. G.

    1995-09-01

    Scanning electron microscopy of feathers has revealed evidence that a bacterial glycocalyx (a network of exocellular polysaccharide fibers) played a role in promoting their fossilization in some cases. This mode of preservation has not been reported in other soft tissues. The majority of fossil feathers are preserved as carbonized traces. More rarely, bacteria on the surface are replicated by authigenic minerals (bacterial autolithification). The feathers of Archaeopteryx are preserved mainly by imprintation following early lithification of the substrate and decay of the feather. Lacustrine settings provide the most important taphonomic window for feather preservation. Preservation in terrestrial and normal-marine settings involves very different processes (in amber and in authigenically mineralized coprolites, respectively). Therefore, there may be a significant bias in the avian fossil record in favor of inland water habitats.

  16. Magnetic Properties of Sediments from IODP Expedition 311 - Cascadia Margin Gas Hydrates: Records of Fossil Sulphate Methane Interface?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Enkin, R. J.; Baker, J.; Esteban, L.; Mullin, A. J.; Paterson, B.; Hamilton, T. S.; Michael, R.

    2006-12-01

    interpret type-B samples to hold iron sulphides produced diagenetically from iron oxides within the sediments at the sulphate-methane interface. We hypothesize that the two magnetic behaviors record a stratigraphic and geochemical interplay between the sedimentation rate and changes in methane flux, sulphate reduction and the gas hydrate stability field with time.

  17. Correlation of Plio Pleistocene Tephra in Ethiopian and Kenyan rift basins: Temporal calibration of geological features and hominid fossil records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    WoldeGabriel, Giday; Hart, William K.; Katoh, Shigehiro; Beyene, Yonas; Suwa, Gen

    2005-10-01

    The 200-m-thick fossiliferous Konso Formation and overlying terrace deposits, which crop out at the end of the southern sector of the Main Ethiopian Rift (MER), contain more than 30 distal tephra layers. Local and regional tephra correlations of more than 20 tephra units were established using major and trace element data of discrete and purified bulk glass samples within the Konso study area. Eleven correlative marker tuffs were recognized in stratigraphic sections of both the Konso Formation and the Omo-Turkana Basin sediments in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. The Turoha, Hope, Ivory, Bright White, and Boleshe Tuffs in the Konso Formation, and the Upper White Tuff in the overlying terrace deposits are securely correlated with the KBS, Akait, Lokapetamoi, Chari, Lower Nariokotome, and Silbo Tuffs of the Omo-Turkana Basin, using least mobile major elements (CaO, Fe 2O 3*, and TiO 2) and geochronology. Preliminary correlations are also suggested between the Konso Formation distal tephra and proximal units of the Quaternary caldera-forming silicic centers in the central sector of the MER. The strongly peralkaline tuffs of the Konso Formation are compositionally similar to proximal eruptions mostly located along the Quaternary axial rift zone of the southern, central, and northern sectors of the MER. The tephra correlation provides information about the temporal and spatial features of the volcanic and tectonic processes recorded in the evolving basins. Thickness and sedimentation rate were determined for both the Konso Formation and the Omo-Turkana Basin sections, measured between the Turoha (=KBS; 1.91 ± 0.03 Ma) and the Bright White (=Chari; 1.40 ± 0.02 Ma) Tuffs. Although the lithostratigraphic sequence at the Konso study area is younger, sedimentation rate within the Konso Formation was comparable to that of the Koobi Fora Formation, higher in the Nachukui Formation, and lower in the Shungura Formation. Local and regional differences in thickness and

  18. Molecular phylogeny of acantharian and polycystine radiolarians based on ribosomal DNA sequences, and some comparisons with data from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kunitomo, Yoshiki; Sarashina, Isao; Iijima, Minoru; Endo, Kazuyoshi; Sashida, Katsuo

    2006-07-01

    Polycystines (spumellarians, nassellarians, and collodarians), phaeodarians, and acantharians are marine planktonic protists that have been conventionally and collectively called "radiolaria". Recent molecular phylogenetic studies revealed radiolarian polyphyly with phaeodarians being a separate offshoot. Collodarians and nassellarians are also shown to form a monophyletic group, but other aspects of radiolarian phylogeny, such as interrelations among polycystines and acantharians, remained uncertain. Here, we present molecular phylogenetic analyses including new ribosomal RNA sequences from ten spumellarians and nine nassellarians, based on Bayesian and maximum-likelihood methods. Results indicate that the Polycystinea is a paraphyletic group, with Bayesian analysis suggesting that spumellarians form a clade with acantharians. The heliozoan-like protist Sticholonche appears as a sister to the spumellarian clade. The nassellarian Eucyrtidium is located outside the clade including the other nassellarians and collodarians. The mineralogy of the test of extant radiolarians and the tree topology obtained in this work suggest that acantharians and spumellarians evolved from an ancestor with a siliceous skeleton. Collodarians and nassellarians form a well-supported clade and one might infer from the fossil record that they may have diverged between the Jurassic and the Eocene.

  19. Middle Pleistocene Climate Change Recorded in Fossil Mammal Teeth from Tarija, Bolivia, and Upper Limit of the Ensenadan Land-Mammal Age

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacFadden, Bruce J.

    2000-07-01

    Fossiliferous middle Pleistocene sediments of the Tarija basin of southern Bolivia contain a classic Ensenadan land-mammal fauna. New carbon isotopic data reported here for 50 specimens of the grazing mammals Equus (horse) and Cuvieronius (mastodon), documented from eight stratigraphic levels at Tarija, vary significantly in the δ13C values of their teeth. The pattern of variation appears to reflect the proportion of C3 and C4 grasses eaten during colder (more C3) and warmer (more C4) times. Within age limits set by associated magnetostratigraphy, the cold periods can be correlated with particular even-numbered stages in the marine oxygen-isotope record, and the warm periods can be correlated with odd-numbered stages. The oldest fossil teeth analyzed from the Tarija section can thereby be assigned to stage 29, and the youngest to stages 17 or 15, that is; the teeth range in age from about 1.1 myr to as young as 0.7 myr. Based on correlation of the upper part of the Tarija beds to the isotopic stages, the upper limit of the Ensenadan land-mammal age is between 0.7 and 0.6 myr, which is younger than stated in most previous studies.

  20. Collapse of the Late Proterozoic ecosystem

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schopf, J. W.

    1991-01-01

    Evidence accumulated over the past two decades is now sufficient to permit an initial quantitative assessment of the patterns of biotic diversity and extinction that occurred during Proterozoic time. Because of limitations in both the quality and quantity of data currently available, however, generalizations thus derived must be regarded as tentative. Nevertheless, read literally, available palaeontological data appear to indicate that the global ecosystem experienced a gradual but massive collapse between 1 000 Ma and the beginning of the Phanerozoic, a supposition consistent with other lines of geological and geochemical evidence. A possible forcing agent for such a collapse appears to have been a decrease in ambient levels of carbon dioxide and a resultant decrease in average global temperature, photosynthetic efficiency, and primary productivity.

  1. Darwin's Enigma: The Fossil Record.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sunderland, Luther D.

    In December of 1978 the New York State Board of Regents ordered the New York State Education Department to conduct a detailed study of the way in which the subject of origins should be treated in a revised version of the Regents Biology Syllabus. The author was invited to supply scientific information to the Bureau of Science Education, which was…

  2. A rich fossil record yields calibrated phylogeny for Acanthaceae (Lamiales) and evidence for marked biases in timing and directionality of intercontinental disjunctions.

    PubMed

    Tripp, Erin A; McDade, Lucinda A

    2014-09-01

    More than a decade of phylogenetic research has yielded a well-sampled, strongly supported hypothesis of relationships within the large ( > 4000 species) plant family Acanthaceae. This hypothesis points to intriguing biogeographic patterns and asymmetries in sister clade diversity but, absent a time-calibrated estimate for this evolutionary history, these patterns have remained unexplored. Here, we reconstruct divergence times within Acanthaceae using fossils as calibration points and experimenting with both fossil selection and effects of invoking a maximum age prior related to the origin of Eudicots. Contrary to earlier reports of a paucity of fossils of Lamiales (an order of ∼ 23,000 species that includes Acanthaceae) and to the expectation that a largely herbaceous to soft-wooded and tropical lineage would have few fossils, we recovered 51 reports of fossil Acanthaceae. Rigorous evaluation of these for accurate identification, quality of age assessment and utility in dating yielded eight fossils judged to merit inclusion in analyses. With nearly 10 kb of DNA sequence data, we used two sets of fossils as constraints to reconstruct divergence times. We demonstrate differences in age estimates depending on fossil selection and that enforcement of maximum age priors substantially alters estimated clade ages, especially in analyses that utilize a smaller rather than larger set of fossils. Our results suggest that long-distance dispersal events explain present-day distributions better than do Gondwanan or northern land bridge hypotheses. This biogeographical conclusion is for the most part robust to alternative calibration schemes. Our data support a minimum of 13 Old World (OW) to New World (NW) dispersal events but, intriguingly, only one in the reverse direction. Eleven of these 13 were among Acanthaceae s.s., which comprises > 90% of species diversity in the family. Remarkably, if minimum age estimates approximate true history, these 11 events occurred within

  3. Absolute age constraints on the age and tectonics of the Middle and Late Proterozoic Pahrump Group, southern Death Valley, California

    SciTech Connect

    Calzia, J.P. ); Troxel, B.W.

    1993-04-01

    The Pahrump Group unconformably overlies 1.35 Ga granite, is unconformably overlain by the Late Proterozoic Noonday Dolomite, and is divided into the Crystal Spring Formation, the Beck Spring Dolomite, and the Kingston Peak Formation. Contacts between these formations are gradational through several meters of interbedded clastic and carbonate rocks. Lithologic data, sedimentary structures, and fossil assemblages suggest that the Pahrump Group, from middle Crystal Spring to lower Kingston Peak time, was deposited in an intratidal to supratidal environment. Diamictite, volcanic ash, and mono lithologic megabreccia suggest that the middle and the upper members of the Kingston Peak Formation were deposited in a higher energy sedimentary and tectonic environment. Dikes and sills of 1.08 Ga diabase intrude the gneiss and all members of the Crystal Spring Formation; erosional clasts of diabase first appear in the middle Kingston Peak Formation. The diabase sills are up to 450 m thick and have caused at least 20 percent inflation of the Crystal Spring, Beck Spring, and lower Kingston Peak formations. If these sedimentary rocks were deposited at or above wave base, evidence of intraplate rifting or gross stratigraphic inflation is not recorded in the Pahrump stratigraphy until middle and upper Kingston Peak time. Therefore, the stratigraphic and petrologic data suggest that the diabase was emplaced in the Crystal Spring Formation during post-lower but pre-middle Kingston Peak time. The Beck Spring Dolomite and the lower Kingston Peak Formation are older than 1.08 Ga; the contact between the lower and the middle Kingston Peak Formation is a regional disconformity that marks significant changes in the depositional and the tectonic environments of the Pahrump Group at about 1.08 Ga.

  4. Recognition of deep-water benthic assemblages in the fossil record: Taphonomy and community characteristics of Louisiana continental slope petroleum seep assemblages

    SciTech Connect

    Callender, W.R.

    1992-01-01

    Chemoautotrophic benthic assemblages associated with petroleum seepage form the only substantial shell accumulations below storm wave base on the northern Gulf of Mexico shelf and slope. Five biofacies are associated with petroleum seepage, dominated respectively by vestimentiferan tubeworms, lucinid, thyasirid and vesicomyid clams and mytilid mussels. The taphonomy of petroleum seep death assemblages includes dissolution as the most pervasive mode of shell alteration. The dominant species in each assemblage reflect the taphonomic signature of the assemblage they dominate. The taphonomic attributes of petroleum seep death assemblages are similar to those of ancient autochthonous benthic assemblages. Paleoecological characteristics representative of cold seep assemblages include: high density-low diversity molluscan assemblages dominated by large individuals, high molluscan biomass concentrations aligned in linear trends, carbons with depleted [delta][sup 13]C values associated with faunally depauperate shales, laminated or massive sedimentary structures, variable articulation frequencies, poor shell preservation, and a trophic structure dominated by one trophic group. The Campanian Tepee Buttes share many paleoecological characteristics with recognized ancient seep assemblages. Methane and hydrogen sulfide-rich fluids from underlying strata were transported along fault conduits to supply a localized nutrient source for lucinid-dominated benthic communities. The Tepee Butte assemblages were dominated by dense accumulations of Nymphalucina occidentalis with moderate to high articulation frequencies. The lucinids probably used H[sub 2]S as a nutrient source. Cold seeps can be recognized in the fossil record, based on criteria developed by the study of modern cold seep death assemblages, because the paleoecological characteristics of cold seep assemblages are very conservative.

  5. Tropical tales of polar ice: evidence of Last Interglacial polar ice sheet retreat recorded by fossil reefs of the granitic Seychelles islands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dutton, Andrea; Webster, Jody M.; Zwartz, Dan; Lambeck, Kurt; Wohlfarth, Barbara

    2015-01-01

    In the search for a record of eustatic sea level change on glacial-interglacial timescales, the Seychelles ranks as one of the best places on the planet to study. Owing to its location with respect to the former margins of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets that wax and wane on orbital cycles, the local-or relative-sea level history is predicted to lie within a few meters of the globally averaged eustatic signal during the Last Interglacial period. We have surveyed and dated Last Interglacial fossil corals to ascertain peak sea level and hence infer maximum retreat of polar ice sheets during this time interval. We observe a pattern of gradually rising sea level in the Seychelles between ˜129 and 125 thousand years ago (ka), with peak eustatic sea level attained after 125 ka at 7.6 ± 1.7 m higher than present. After accounting for thermal expansion and loss of mountain glaciers, this sea-level budget would require ˜5-8 m of polar ice sheet contribution, relative to today's volume, of which only ˜2 m came from the Greenland ice sheet. This result clearly identifies the Antarctic ice sheet as a significant source of melt water, most likely derived from one of the unstable, marine-based sectors in the West and/or East Antarctic ice sheet. Furthermore, the establishment of a +5.9 ± 1.7 m eustatic sea level position by 128.6 ± 0.8 ka would require that partial AIS collapse was coincident with the onset of the sea level highstand.

  6. Mud fossils

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,

    1997-01-01

    At the close of the 18th century, the haze of fantasy and mysticism that tended to obscure the true nature of the Earth was being swept away. Careful studies by scientists showed that rocks had diverse origins. Some rock layers, containing clearly identifiable fossil remains of fish and other forms of aquatic animal and plant life, originally formed in the ocean. Other layers, consisting of sand grains winnowed clean by the pounding surf, obviously formed as beach deposits that marked the shorelines of ancient seas.

  7. Fractal branching organizations of Ediacaran rangeomorph fronds reveal a lost Proterozoic body plan.

    PubMed

    Hoyal Cuthill, Jennifer F; Conway Morris, Simon

    2014-09-01

    The branching morphology of Ediacaran rangeomorph fronds has no exact counterpart in other complex macroorganisms. As such, these fossils pose major questions as to growth patterns, functional morphology, modes of feeding, and adaptive optimality. Here, using parametric Lindenmayer systems, a formal model of rangeomorph morphologies reveals a fractal body plan characterized by self-similar, axial, apical, alternate branching. Consequent morphological reconstruction for 11 taxa demonstrates an adaptive radiation based on 3D space-filling strategies. The fractal body plan of rangeomorphs is shown to maximize surface area, consistent with diffusive nutrient uptake from the water column (osmotrophy). The enigmas of rangeomorph morphology, evolution, and extinction are resolved by the realization that they were adaptively optimized for unique ecological and geochemical conditions in the late Proterozoic. Changes in ocean conditions associated with the Cambrian explosion sealed their fate. PMID:25114255

  8. Fractal branching organizations of Ediacaran rangeomorph fronds reveal a lost Proterozoic body plan

    PubMed Central

    Hoyal Cuthill, Jennifer F.; Conway Morris, Simon

    2014-01-01

    The branching morphology of Ediacaran rangeomorph fronds has no exact counterpart in other complex macroorganisms. As such, these fossils pose major questions as to growth patterns, functional morphology, modes of feeding, and adaptive optimality. Here, using parametric Lindenmayer systems, a formal model of rangeomorph morphologies reveals a fractal body plan characterized by self-similar, axial, apical, alternate branching. Consequent morphological reconstruction for 11 taxa demonstrates an adaptive radiation based on 3D space-filling strategies. The fractal body plan of rangeomorphs is shown to maximize surface area, consistent with diffusive nutrient uptake from the water column (osmotrophy). The enigmas of rangeomorph morphology, evolution, and extinction are resolved by the realization that they were adaptively optimized for unique ecological and geochemical conditions in the late Proterozoic. Changes in ocean conditions associated with the Cambrian explosion sealed their fate. PMID:25114255

  9. Organically preserved microbial endoliths from the late Proterozoic of East Greenland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Golubic, S.; Green, J.; Swett, K.

    1986-01-01

    Diverse microorganisms ranging from cyanobacteria to eukaryotic algae and fungi live endolithically within ooids, hardgrounds and invertebrate shells on the present-day sea floor. These organisms are involved in the mechanical destruction of carbonates, and are useful ecological indicators of water depth and pollution. The Phanerozoic history of microbial endoliths has been elucidated through the study of microborings (the trace fossils of endolithic microorganisms) and rare cellularly preserved individuals, but nothing was known of the possible Precambrian evolution of comparable microorganisms until Campbell documented the occurrence of microborings in late Proterozoic ooids from central East Greenland. We now report the discovery of large populations of organically preserved endolithic microorganisms in silicified pisolites from 700-800-Myr-old Limestone-Dolomite Series of East Greenland. This fossil assemblage is significant for three reasons: (1) It confirms the prediction that oolites, pisolites and hardgrounds--the substrates for pre-Phanerozoic endoliths--provide a hitherto poorly explored but rewarding set of environments into which the search for early microfossils must be broadened; (2) the assemblage is diverse, containing about 12 taxa of morphologically distinct and previously unknown endolithic cyanobacteria, plus associated epilithic and interstitial populations; and (3) at least six of the fossil populations are indistinguishable in morphology, pattern of development, reproductive biology and inferred ecology from distinctive cyanobacterial species that bore ooids today in the Bahama Banks.

  10. The largest fossil rodent

    PubMed Central

    Rinderknecht, Andrés; Blanco, R. Ernesto

    2008-01-01

    The discovery of an exceptionally well-preserved skull permits the description of the new South American fossil species of the rodent, Josephoartigasia monesi sp. nov. (family: Dinomyidae; Rodentia: Hystricognathi: Caviomorpha). This species with estimated body mass of nearly 1000 kg is the largest yet recorded. The skull sheds new light on the anatomy of the extinct giant rodents of the Dinomyidae, which are known mostly from isolated teeth and incomplete mandible remains. The fossil derives from San José Formation, Uruguay, usually assigned to the Pliocene–Pleistocene (4–2 Myr ago), and the proposed palaeoenvironment where this rodent lived was characterized as an estuarine or deltaic system with forest communities. PMID:18198140

  11. SIMS and NanoSIMS analyses of Mesoproterozoic individual microfossils indicating continuous oxygen-producing photosynthesis in Proterozoic Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peng, X.; Guo, Z.; House, C. H.; Chen, S.; Ta, K.

    2015-12-01

    Well-preserved microfossils in the stromatolites from the Gaoyuzhuang Formation (~1500Ma), which is younger than the Gunflint Formation (~1880Ma) and older than the Bitter Springs Formation (~850Ma), may play key roles in systematizing information about the evolution of early life and environmental changes in the Proterozoic Ocean. Here, a combination of light microscopy (LM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), focused ion beam (FIB), nano-scale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) were employed to characterize the morphology, elemental distributions and carbon isotope values of individual microfossils in the stromatolites from the Gaoyuahzuang Formation. Light microscopy analyses show that abundant filamentous and coccoid microfossils are exceptionally well preserved in chert. NanoSIMS analyses show that metabolically important elements such as 12C-, 13C-, 12C14N-, 32S-, and 34S- are concentrated in these microfossils and that the variations in the concentrations of these elements are similar, establishing the elemental distributions in incontestably biogenic microstructures. Carbon isotope (δ13C) values of individual microfossils range from -32.2‰ ± 0.9‰ to -23.3‰ ± 1.0‰ (weighted mean= -28.9‰ ± 0.1‰), consistent with carbon fixation via the Calvin cycle. The elevated δ13C values of the microfossils from Early-, Meso- to Late Proterozoic Era, possibly indicate decreasing CO2 and increasing O2 concentrations in the Proterozoic atmosphere. Our results, for the first time, provided the element distributions and cell specific carbon isotope values on convincing Mesoproterozoic cyanobacterial fossils, supporting continuous oxygen-producing photosynthesis in the Proterozoic Ocean.

  12. Biomineralization and biosignatures of coralloid-type speleothems from lava tubes of Galapagos Islands: evidences on the fossil record of prokaryotes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Ana Z.; Garcia-Sanchez, Angela M.; Pereira, Manuel F. C.; Gazquez, Fernando; Calaforra, José M.; Forti, Paolo; Toulkeridis, Theofilos; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Saiz-Jimenez, Cesareo

    2016-04-01

    , whereas the final stage mainly consists of low crystalline calcite. FESEM-EDS analysis revealed mineralized bacterial filaments rich in Si on the coralloid samples, as well as minerals precipitation associated with extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), which serve as nuclei for preferential precipitation on the extracellular sheaths. This suggests that biological activity played a major role in the development of these speleothems. In addition, imprints of filamentous cells and microboring readily preserved on siliceous minerals were observed on the coralloid speleothems. These features are recognized as biosignatures valuable for astrobiology and may represent modern analogs of the fossil record of prokaryotes. DNA-based analyses showed that bacteria belonging to Actinobacteria (31%) Gemmatimonadetes (25%) and Proteobacteria (24%) phyla dominated in this cave ecosystem, followed by Acidobacteria, Firmicutes and Nitrospirae. Most of the identified phylotypes were affiliated to chemoautotrophs, including thermophilic bacteria such as Ferrithrix thermotolerans, and other mineral utilizing microorganisms like Aciditerrimonas ferrireducens, Desulfuromonas sp. and Desulfovibrio sp., indicating that Galapagos lava tubes host highly specialized subsurface biosphere dominated by microorganisms able to interact with minerals and promote biomineralization. Acknowledgments: This work has been supported by the project PC-65-14 from the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador. AZM acknowledges the support from the Marie Curie Fellowship of the 7th EC Framework Programme (PIEF-GA-2012-328689-DECAVE). The authors acknowledge the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (project CGL2013-41674-P) and FEDER funds for financial support.

  13. Are the oldest 'fossils', fossils

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schopf, J. W.

    1976-01-01

    A comparative statistical study has been carried out on populations of modern algae, Precambrian algal microfossils, the 'organized elements' of the Orgueil carbonaceous meteorite, and the oldest microfossil-like objects now known (spheroidal bodies from the Fig Tree and Onverwacht Groups of the Swaziland Supergroup, South Africa). The distribution patterns exhibited by the more than 3000 m.y.-old Swaziland microstructures bear considerable resemblance to those of the abiotic 'organized elements' but differ rather markedly from those exhibited by younger, assuredly biogenic, populations. Based on these comparisons, it is concluded that the Swaziland spheroids could be, at least in part, of nonbiologic origin; these oldest known fossil-like microstructures should not be regarded as constituting firm evidence of Archean life.

  14. Evidences for multiple remagnetization of Proterozoic dykes from Iguerda inlier (Anti-Atlas Belt, Southern Morocco)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neres, Marta; Silva, Pedro F.; Ikene, Moha; Martins, Sofia; Hafid, Ahmid; Mata, João; Almeida, Francisco; Youbi, Nasrrddine; Boumehdi, Ahmed

    2016-04-01

    Paleomagnetic data able to constrain the paleoposition of the West African Craton (WAC) during Paleo-Mesoproterozoic are absent, mainly due to gaps on the sedimentary record and intense remagnetizations. Dykes that intrude several Proterozoic inliers of WAC in the Anti-Atlas Belt (southern Morocco) have recently been subjected to geochronological studies, which revealed ages between Paleoproterozoic and early Neoproterozoic. Therefore, these dykes represent a window of opportunity for paleomagnetic studies aiming to infer about the paleoposition of WAC during Proterozoic. On this scope we conducted a paleomagnetic study on seven Proterozoic dykes of the Iguerda inlier. We determined the paleomagnetic directions and evaluated their meaning by rock magnetic and mineral analyses, complemented by petrographic observations. Results revealed that these rocks record the presence of a complex history of remagnetization events, mostly assigned to several Phanerozoic thermal/chemical events. In particular, we found components assigned to the late stages of Pan African orogeny (s.l.), to the Late Carboniferous Variscan orogeny, and to more recent events. The recognized remagnetization processes are related to widespread metamorphic events under greenschist facies followed by low-temperature oxidation, both responsible for the formation of new magnetic phases (magnetite and hematite). The primary (magmatic) thermo-remanent magnetization of the dykes was obliterated during these events through multiple thermal and chemical remagnetizations. For only one dyke the presence of primary magnetization is possible to infer, though not to confirm, and would place WAC at an equatorial position around 1750 Ma. The authors wish to acknowledge FCT (Portugal) - CNRST (Morocco) bilateral agreement for its major contribution without which this work wouldn't be possible. Publication supported by project FCT UID/GEO/50019/2013 - Instituto Dom Luiz.

  15. Will My Fossil Float?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Riesser, Sharon; Airey, Linda

    1993-01-01

    Explains how young students can be introduced to fossils. Suggests books to read and science activities including "Fossils to Eat" where students make fossils from peanut butter, honey, and powdered milk. (PR)

  16. Global biogeochemical changes at both ends of the proterozoic: insights from phosphorites.

    PubMed

    Papineau, Dominic

    2010-03-01

    The distribution of major phosphate deposits in the Precambrian sedimentary rock record is restricted to periods that witnessed global biogeochemical changes, but the cause of this distribution is unclear. The oldest known phosphogenic event occurred around 2.0 Ga and was followed, after more than 1.3 billion years, by an even larger phosphogenic event in the Neoproterozoic. Phosphorites (phosphate-rich sedimentary rocks that contain more than 15% P(2)O(5)) preserve a unique record of seawater chemistry, biological activity, and oceanographic changes. In an attempt to emphasize the potentially crucial significance of phosphorites in the evolution of Proterozoic biogeochemical cycles, this contribution provides a review of some important Paleoproterozoic phosphate deposits and of models proposed for their origin. A new model is then presented for the spatial and temporal modes of occurrence of phosphorites along with possible connections to global changes at both ends of the Proterozoic. Central to the new model is that periods of atmospheric oxygenation may have been caused by globally elevated rates of primary productivity stimulated by high fluxes of phosphorus delivery to seawater as a result of increased chemical weathering of continental crust over geological timescales. The striking similarities in biogeochemical evolution between the Paleo- and Neoproterozoic are discussed in light of the two oldest major phosphogenic events and their possible relation to the stepwise rise of atmospheric oxygen that ultimately resulted in significant leaps in biological evolution. PMID:20105035

  17. Global biogeochemical changes at both ends of the proterozoic: insights from phosphorites.

    PubMed

    Papineau, Dominic

    2010-03-01

    The distribution of major phosphate deposits in the Precambrian sedimentary rock record is restricted to periods that witnessed global biogeochemical changes, but the cause of this distribution is unclear. The oldest known phosphogenic event occurred around 2.0 Ga and was followed, after more than 1.3 billion years, by an even larger phosphogenic event in the Neoproterozoic. Phosphorites (phosphate-rich sedimentary rocks that contain more than 15% P(2)O(5)) preserve a unique record of seawater chemistry, biological activity, and oceanographic changes. In an attempt to emphasize the potentially crucial significance of phosphorites in the evolution of Proterozoic biogeochemical cycles, this contribution provides a review of some important Paleoproterozoic phosphate deposits and of models proposed for their origin. A new model is then presented for the spatial and temporal modes of occurrence of phosphorites along with possible connections to global changes at both ends of the Proterozoic. Central to the new model is that periods of atmospheric oxygenation may have been caused by globally elevated rates of primary productivity stimulated by high fluxes of phosphorus delivery to seawater as a result of increased chemical weathering of continental crust over geological timescales. The striking similarities in biogeochemical evolution between the Paleo- and Neoproterozoic are discussed in light of the two oldest major phosphogenic events and their possible relation to the stepwise rise of atmospheric oxygen that ultimately resulted in significant leaps in biological evolution.

  18. Global Biogeochemical Changes at Both Ends of the Proterozoic: Insights from Phosphorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Papineau, Dominic

    2010-03-01

    The distribution of major phosphate deposits in the Precambrian sedimentary rock record is restricted to periods that witnessed global biogeochemical changes, but the cause of this distribution is unclear. The oldest known phosphogenic event occurred around 2.0 Ga and was followed, after more than 1.3 billion years, by an even larger phosphogenic event in the Neoproterozoic. Phosphorites (phosphate-rich sedimentary rocks that contain more than 15% P2O5) preserve a unique record of seawater chemistry, biological activity, and oceanographic changes. In an attempt to emphasize the potentially crucial significance of phosphorites in the evolution of Proterozoic biogeochemical cycles, this contribution provides a review of some important Paleoproterozoic phosphate deposits and of models proposed for their origin. A new model is then presented for the spatial and temporal modes of occurrence of phosphorites along with possible connections to global changes at both ends of the Proterozoic. Central to the new model is that periods of atmospheric oxygenation may have been caused by globally elevated rates of primary productivity stimulated by high fluxes of phosphorus delivery to seawater as a result of increased chemical weathering of continental crust over geological timescales. The striking similarities in biogeochemical evolution between the Paleo- and Neoproterozoic are discussed in light of the two oldest major phosphogenic events and their possible relation to the stepwise rise of atmospheric oxygen that ultimately resulted in significant leaps in biological evolution.

  19. Novel application of confocal laser scanning microscopy and 3D volume rendering toward improving the resolution of the fossil record of charcoal.

    PubMed

    Belcher, Claire M; Punyasena, Surangi W; Sivaguru, Mayandi

    2013-01-01

    Variations in the abundance of fossil charcoals between rocks and sediments are assumed to reflect changes in fire activity in Earth's past. These variations in fire activity are often considered to be in response to environmental, ecological or climatic changes. The role that fire plays in feedbacks to such changes is becoming increasingly important to understand and highlights the need to create robust estimates of variations in fossil charcoal abundance. The majority of charcoal based fire reconstructions quantify the abundance of charcoal particles and do not consider the changes in the morphology of the individual particles that may have occurred due to fragmentation as part of their transport history. We have developed a novel application of confocal laser scanning microscopy coupled to image processing that enables the 3-dimensional reconstruction of individual charcoal particles. This method is able to measure the volume of both microfossil and mesofossil charcoal particles and allows the abundance of charcoal in a sample to be expressed as total volume of charcoal. The method further measures particle surface area and shape allowing both relationships between different size and shape metrics to be analysed and full consideration of variations in particle size and size sorting between different samples to be studied. We believe application of this new imaging approach could allow significant improvement in our ability to estimate variations in past fire activity using fossil charcoals.

  20. Statistical analysis of iron geochemical data suggests limited late Proterozoic oxygenation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sperling, Erik A.; Wolock, Charles J.; Morgan, Alex S.; Gill, Benjamin C.; Kunzmann, Marcus; Halverson, Galen P.; MacDonald, Francis A.; Knoll, Andrew H.; Johnston, David T.

    2015-07-01

    Sedimentary rocks deposited across the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition record extreme climate fluctuations, a potential rise in atmospheric oxygen or re-organization of the seafloor redox landscape, and the initial diversification of animals. It is widely assumed that the inferred redox change facilitated the observed trends in biodiversity. Establishing this palaeoenvironmental context, however, requires that changes in marine redox structure be tracked by means of geochemical proxies and translated into estimates of atmospheric oxygen. Iron-based proxies are among the most effective tools for tracking the redox chemistry of ancient oceans. These proxies are inherently local, but have global implications when analysed collectively and statistically. Here we analyse about 4,700 iron-speciation measurements from shales 2,300 to 360 million years old. Our statistical analyses suggest that subsurface water masses in mid-Proterozoic oceans were predominantly anoxic and ferruginous (depleted in dissolved oxygen and iron-bearing), but with a tendency towards euxinia (sulfide-bearing) that is not observed in the Neoproterozoic era. Analyses further indicate that early animals did not experience appreciable benthic sulfide stress. Finally, unlike proxies based on redox-sensitive trace-metal abundances, iron geochemical data do not show a statistically significant change in oxygen content through the Ediacaran and Cambrian periods, sharply constraining the magnitude of the end-Proterozoic oxygen increase. Indeed, this re-analysis of trace-metal data is consistent with oxygenation continuing well into the Palaeozoic era. Therefore, if changing redox conditions facilitated animal diversification, it did so through a limited rise in oxygen past critical functional and ecological thresholds, as is seen in modern oxygen minimum zone benthic animal communities.

  1. Statistical analysis of iron geochemical data suggests limited late Proterozoic oxygenation.

    PubMed

    Sperling, Erik A; Wolock, Charles J; Morgan, Alex S; Gill, Benjamin C; Kunzmann, Marcus; Halverson, Galen P; Macdonald, Francis A; Knoll, Andrew H; Johnston, David T

    2015-07-23

    Sedimentary rocks deposited across the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition record extreme climate fluctuations, a potential rise in atmospheric oxygen or re-organization of the seafloor redox landscape, and the initial diversification of animals. It is widely assumed that the inferred redox change facilitated the observed trends in biodiversity. Establishing this palaeoenvironmental context, however, requires that changes in marine redox structure be tracked by means of geochemical proxies and translated into estimates of atmospheric oxygen. Iron-based proxies are among the most effective tools for tracking the redox chemistry of ancient oceans. These proxies are inherently local, but have global implications when analysed collectively and statistically. Here we analyse about 4,700 iron-speciation measurements from shales 2,300 to 360 million years old. Our statistical analyses suggest that subsurface water masses in mid-Proterozoic oceans were predominantly anoxic and ferruginous (depleted in dissolved oxygen and iron-bearing), but with a tendency towards euxinia (sulfide-bearing) that is not observed in the Neoproterozoic era. Analyses further indicate that early animals did not experience appreciable benthic sulfide stress. Finally, unlike proxies based on redox-sensitive trace-metal abundances, iron geochemical data do not show a statistically significant change in oxygen content through the Ediacaran and Cambrian periods, sharply constraining the magnitude of the end-Proterozoic oxygen increase. Indeed, this re-analysis of trace-metal data is consistent with oxygenation continuing well into the Palaeozoic era. Therefore, if changing redox conditions facilitated animal diversification, it did so through a limited rise in oxygen past critical functional and ecological thresholds, as is seen in modern oxygen minimum zone benthic animal communities. PMID:26201598

  2. Statistical analysis of iron geochemical data suggests limited late Proterozoic oxygenation.

    PubMed

    Sperling, Erik A; Wolock, Charles J; Morgan, Alex S; Gill, Benjamin C; Kunzmann, Marcus; Halverson, Galen P; Macdonald, Francis A; Knoll, Andrew H; Johnston, David T

    2015-07-23

    Sedimentary rocks deposited across the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition record extreme climate fluctuations, a potential rise in atmospheric oxygen or re-organization of the seafloor redox landscape, and the initial diversification of animals. It is widely assumed that the inferred redox change facilitated the observed trends in biodiversity. Establishing this palaeoenvironmental context, however, requires that changes in marine redox structure be tracked by means of geochemical proxies and translated into estimates of atmospheric oxygen. Iron-based proxies are among the most effective tools for tracking the redox chemistry of ancient oceans. These proxies are inherently local, but have global implications when analysed collectively and statistically. Here we analyse about 4,700 iron-speciation measurements from shales 2,300 to 360 million years old. Our statistical analyses suggest that subsurface water masses in mid-Proterozoic oceans were predominantly anoxic and ferruginous (depleted in dissolved oxygen and iron-bearing), but with a tendency towards euxinia (sulfide-bearing) that is not observed in the Neoproterozoic era. Analyses further indicate that early animals did not experience appreciable benthic sulfide stress. Finally, unlike proxies based on redox-sensitive trace-metal abundances, iron geochemical data do not show a statistically significant change in oxygen content through the Ediacaran and Cambrian periods, sharply constraining the magnitude of the end-Proterozoic oxygen increase. Indeed, this re-analysis of trace-metal data is consistent with oxygenation continuing well into the Palaeozoic era. Therefore, if changing redox conditions facilitated animal diversification, it did so through a limited rise in oxygen past critical functional and ecological thresholds, as is seen in modern oxygen minimum zone benthic animal communities.

  3. Using extant patterns of dental variation to identify species in the primate fossil record: a case study of middle Eocene Omomys from the Bridger Basin, southwestern Wyoming.

    PubMed

    Cuozzo, Frank P

    2008-04-01

    Patterns of extant primate dental variation provide important data for interpreting taxonomic boundaries in fossil forms. Here I use dental data from several well-known living primates (as well as data from selected Eocene forms) to evaluate dental variation in Middle Eocene Omomys, the first North American fossil primate identified by paleontologists. Measurements were collected from a sample of 148 omomyid dental specimens recovered from Bridger B localities in the Bridger Basin, Wyoming. Most of these specimens have not previously been described. Nonmetric traits were also scored for this sample. Lower molar coefficients of variation range from 4.01 for M2 length (n = 80) to 6.73 for M3 talonid width (n = 57). All of the nonmetric traits scored exhibit less than 100% presence in the overall sample, including traits previously described as representative of Omomys (e.g., P4 metaconids present in 91%, n = 55; M2 pericones present in 80%, n = 15). Dental traits also vary in a set of spatially restricted localities from the same fossil horizon and in a separate, single fossil locality (DMNH 868, P4 metaconids present in 67%, n = 6). An increasing frequency in several premolar traits across time in these more restricted samples suggests an anagenetic change in Bridger B Omomys. However, this degree of morphological variability is consistent with that seen in extant primate species from single locations. Metric variation in this sample is comparable to that seen in other Eocene primates, such as new data presented here for the omomyid Arapahovius gazini from the Washakie Basin, southern Wyoming. Omomys metric variation is also comparable to that found in several samples of well-known extant primates from single localities (e.g., ring-tailed lemurs and gray-brown mouse lemurs). These metric data also correspond to the patterns of variability described in previously published studies of Omomyscarteri. In sum, a single species interpretation (O. carteri) for this new

  4. Modeling the Consequences of Proterozoic Oxygenation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bachan, A.; Kump, L. R.

    2013-12-01

    state iron removal is dominated by pyrite precipitation allowing for elevated phosphate regeneration. Furthermore, in the model, the weathering input of cations and phosphate accompanied by sulfate moderates the reduction in pCO2 that otherwise results from elevated organic carbon burial. Thus, a positive feedback arises where O2 production from organic carbon burial triggers additional sulfide oxidation which leads to further organic carbon burial. This process continues until the sulfide reservoir is depleted, after which δ13C values return to near zero and the model settles into a new steady state with a higher pO2. In total, our modeling supports the idea that the late Proterozoic carbon isotope anomaly can be understood as the manifestation of oxidizing power, triggered externally, and amplified internally, propagating through the earth system.

  5. Upper proterozoic geology and hydrocarbon prospects, Metropolitan Moscow District

    SciTech Connect

    Kuz`menko, Yu.T.; Kuklinskii, A.Ya.; Pimenov, Yu.G.

    1994-09-01

    New data on the geological makeup of the Teplostansk Graben of the Moscow Aulacogen deals with lithological-geochemical rock characteristics in deep drillholes in the Moscow area and about the enclosed bituminoids. Hydrocarbon prospects of the Upper Proterozoic beds in the graben have been evaluated.

  6. A hypothesis for Proterozoic-Phanerozoic supercontinent cyclicity, with implications for mantle convection, plate tectonics and Earth system evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grenholm, Mikael; Scherstén, Anders

    2015-11-01

    We present a conceptual model for supercontinent cycles in the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic Eons. It is based on the repetitive behavior of C and Sr isotopes in marine carbonates and U-Pb ages and εHf of detrital zircons seen during the Neoproterozoic-Paleozoic and Paleoproterozoic Eras, respectively. These records are considered to reflect secular changes in global tectonics, and it is hypothesized that the repetitive pattern is caused by the same type of changes in global tectonics. The fundamental premise of this paper is that such repetitive changes should also be recorded in orogenic belts worldwide. This carries the implication that Neoproterozoic-Paleozoic orogenic belts should have Paleoproterozoic equivalents. It is proposed that this is the case for the East African, Uralides and Ouachita-Alleghanian orogens, which have Paleoproterozoic analogs in the West African-Amazon, Laurentian and East European cratons, respectively. The Neoproterozoic-Paleozoic orogenic belts are not isolated features but occur in a specific global context, which correspond to the relatively well-constrained Neoproterozoic break-up of Rodinia, and the subsequent Late Paleozoic assembly of Pangea. The existence of Paleoproterozoic equivalents to Neoproterozoic-Paleozoic orogens requires that the same cycle defined the Paleoproterozoic. We therefore hypothesize that there were Paleoproterozoic supercontinents equivalent to Rodinia and Pangea, and that Proterozoic-Phanerozoic supercontinents are comprised of two basic types of configurations, equivalent to Rodinia (R-type) and Pangea (P-type). The Paleoproterozoic equivalent of Rodinia is likely the first supercontinent to have formed, and Proterozoic-Phanerozoic supercontinent cycles are therefore defined by R- to R-type cycles, each lasting approximately 1.5 Gyr. We use this cyclic pattern as a framework to develop a conceptual model that predicts the configuration and cycles of Proterozoic-Phanerozoic supercontinents, and their

  7. Consequences of elevated temperature and pCO2 on insect folivory at the ecosystem level: perspectives from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Currano, Ellen D; Laker, Rachel; Flynn, Andrew G; Fogt, Kari K; Stradtman, Hillary; Wing, Scott L

    2016-07-01

    Paleoecological studies document the net effects of atmospheric and climate change in a natural laboratory over timescales not accessible to laboratory or ecological studies. Insect feeding damage is visible on well-preserved fossil leaves, and changes in leaf damage through time can be compared to environmental changes. We measured percent leaf area damaged on four fossil leaf assemblages from the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, that range in age from 56.1 to 52.65 million years (Ma). We also include similar published data from three US sites 49.4 to ~45 Ma in our analyses. Regional climate was subtropical or warmer throughout this period, and the second oldest assemblage (56 Ma) was deposited during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a geologically abrupt global warming event caused by massive release of carbon into the atmosphere. Total and leaf-chewing damage are highest during the PETM, whether considering percent area damaged on the bulk flora, the average of individual host plants, or a single plant host that occurs at multiple sites. Another fossil assemblage in our study, the 52.65 Ma Fifteenmile Creek paleoflora, also lived during a period of globally high temperature and pCO 2, but does not have elevated herbivory. Comparison of these two sites, as well as regression analyses conducted on the entire dataset, demonstrates that, over long timescales, temperature and pCO 2 are uncorrelated with total insect consumption at the ecosystem level. Rather, the most important factor affecting herbivory is the relative abundance of plants with nitrogen-fixing symbionts. Legumes dominate the PETM site; their prevalence would have decreased nitrogen limitation across the ecosystem, buffering generalist herbivore populations against decreased leaf nutritional quality that commonly occurs at high pCO 2. We hypothesize that nitrogen concentration regulates the opposing effects of elevated temperature and CO 2 on insect abundance and thereby total insect consumption

  8. Consequences of elevated temperature and pCO2 on insect folivory at the ecosystem level: perspectives from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Currano, Ellen D; Laker, Rachel; Flynn, Andrew G; Fogt, Kari K; Stradtman, Hillary; Wing, Scott L

    2016-07-01

    Paleoecological studies document the net effects of atmospheric and climate change in a natural laboratory over timescales not accessible to laboratory or ecological studies. Insect feeding damage is visible on well-preserved fossil leaves, and changes in leaf damage through time can be compared to environmental changes. We measured percent leaf area damaged on four fossil leaf assemblages from the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, that range in age from 56.1 to 52.65 million years (Ma). We also include similar published data from three US sites 49.4 to ~45 Ma in our analyses. Regional climate was subtropical or warmer throughout this period, and the second oldest assemblage (56 Ma) was deposited during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a geologically abrupt global warming event caused by massive release of carbon into the atmosphere. Total and leaf-chewing damage are highest during the PETM, whether considering percent area damaged on the bulk flora, the average of individual host plants, or a single plant host that occurs at multiple sites. Another fossil assemblage in our study, the 52.65 Ma Fifteenmile Creek paleoflora, also lived during a period of globally high temperature and pCO 2, but does not have elevated herbivory. Comparison of these two sites, as well as regression analyses conducted on the entire dataset, demonstrates that, over long timescales, temperature and pCO 2 are uncorrelated with total insect consumption at the ecosystem level. Rather, the most important factor affecting herbivory is the relative abundance of plants with nitrogen-fixing symbionts. Legumes dominate the PETM site; their prevalence would have decreased nitrogen limitation across the ecosystem, buffering generalist herbivore populations against decreased leaf nutritional quality that commonly occurs at high pCO 2. We hypothesize that nitrogen concentration regulates the opposing effects of elevated temperature and CO 2 on insect abundance and thereby total insect consumption

  9. First fossil record of Discocephalinae (Insecta, Pentatomidae): a new genus from the middle Eocene of Río Pichileufú, Patagonia, Argentina

    PubMed Central

    Petrulevičius, Julián F.; Popov, Yuri A.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract A new genus and species of Discocephalini, Acanthocephalonotum martinsnetoi gen. n. et sp. n. is described from Río Pichileufú, middle Eocene of Patagonia, Argentina at palaeolatitude ~ 46°S. The new species is the first fossil representative of the Discocephalinae. This taxon is extant in equatorial to subtropical America, and some species reach warm temperate latitudes (Buenos Aires province). The new genus is distinguished from the other genera of Discocephalini by the combination of these characters: interocular width greater than head length; head massive and quadrangular with the anterior margin almost straight; juga touching each other; labrum thick and curved; triangular ante-ocular process extending beyond the eye; broad spine-like antero-lateral process of the pronotum; pronotum explanate and bean shaped; scutellum triangular with a circular tongue reaching the anterior side of abdominal segment 7; and wings well developed with membrane just surpassing end of abdomen. PMID:25061387

  10. Fossil Shorelines Record Multiple Sea Level Highstands and Surface Deformation on Million Year Timescales at Cape Range National Park, Northwestern Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sandstrom, R. M.; O'Leary, M.; Barham, M.; Cai, Y.; Jacome, A. P.; Raymo, M. E.

    2015-12-01

    Correcting fossil shorelines for vertical displacement subsequent to deposition is a vital consideration in estimating sea level and ice volume during past warm periods. Field observations of paleo-sea level indicators must be adjusted for local tectonic deformation, subsequent sediment loading, dynamic topography (DT), and glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA). Dynamic topography is often the most difficult of these corrections to determine, especially on million year timescales, but is essential when providing constraints on sea level and ice volume changes. GIA effects from high latitude ice sheets minimally impact northwestern Australia, making this region well suited for observing surface displacement due to mantle and tectonic processes. This study presents centimeter accuracy paleo-shoreline data from four distinct marine terraces in the Cape Range National Park, Australia, which document vertical displacement history along 100 kilometers of coastline. The mapped region has an anticlinal structure in the center that has been slowly uplifting the three older reef complexes over the Neogene, constraining the timing of deformation. These neotectonics are probably caused by reactivation of ancient fault zones normal to the principal horizontal compressive stress, resulting in the warping of overlaying units. The elevation data also suggests minimal vertical displacement since the last interglacial highstand. Well-preserved fossil coral were collected from each terrace and will be geochemically dated using Sr isotope and U-series dating methods. This dataset provides a better understanding of DT and neotectonic deformation in this region (useful for improving mantle viscosity models), and offers a means for improving past sea level reconstructions in northwestern Australia.

  11. The non-uniformity of fossil preservation.

    PubMed

    Holland, Steven M

    2016-07-19

    The fossil record provides the primary source of data for calibrating the origin of clades. Although minimum ages of clades are given by the oldest preserved fossil, these underestimate the true age, which must be bracketed by probabilistic methods based on multiple fossil occurrences. Although most of these methods assume uniform preservation rates, this assumption is unsupported over geological timescales. On geologically long timescales (more than 10 Myr), the origin and cessation of sedimentary basins, and long-term variations in tectonic subsidence, eustatic sea level and sedimentation rate control the availability of depositional facies that preserve the environments in which species lived. The loss of doomed sediments, those with a low probability of preservation, imparts a secular trend to fossil preservation. As a result, the fossil record is spatially and temporally non-uniform. Models of fossil preservation should reflect this non-uniformity by using empirical estimates of fossil preservation that are spatially and temporally partitioned, or by using indirect proxies of fossil preservation. Geologically, realistic models of preservation will provide substantially more reliable estimates of the origination of clades.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using rocks and clocks'. PMID:27325828

  12. The non-uniformity of fossil preservation.

    PubMed

    Holland, Steven M

    2016-07-19

    The fossil record provides the primary source of data for calibrating the origin of clades. Although minimum ages of clades are given by the oldest preserved fossil, these underestimate the true age, which must be bracketed by probabilistic methods based on multiple fossil occurrences. Although most of these methods assume uniform preservation rates, this assumption is unsupported over geological timescales. On geologically long timescales (more than 10 Myr), the origin and cessation of sedimentary basins, and long-term variations in tectonic subsidence, eustatic sea level and sedimentation rate control the availability of depositional facies that preserve the environments in which species lived. The loss of doomed sediments, those with a low probability of preservation, imparts a secular trend to fossil preservation. As a result, the fossil record is spatially and temporally non-uniform. Models of fossil preservation should reflect this non-uniformity by using empirical estimates of fossil preservation that are spatially and temporally partitioned, or by using indirect proxies of fossil preservation. Geologically, realistic models of preservation will provide substantially more reliable estimates of the origination of clades.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using rocks and clocks'.

  13. Early and middle(?) Cambrian metazoan and protistan fossils from West Africa

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Culver, S.J.; Repetski, J.E.; Pojeta, J.; Hunt, D.

    1996-01-01

    Supposed Upper Proterozoic strata in the southwest Taoudeni Basin, Guinea and Senegal, and from the Mauritanide fold belt, Mauritania, have yielded mostly poorly preserved small skeletal fossils of metazoan and protistan origin. Problematic, but possible echinoderm material and spicules of the heteractinid sponge Eiffelia dominate the Taoudeni Basin assemblage. The age of the material is not certain but the paleontologic data suggest an Early Cambrian age for the stratigraphically lowest faunas, and a Middle Cambrian age is possible for the stratigraphically highest collections.

  14. A 25 m.y. isotopic record of paleodiet and environmental change from fossil mammals and paleosols from the NE margin of the Tibetan Plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Yang; Deng, Tao

    2005-07-01

    We use the carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions of fossil tooth enamel and paleosols to reconstruct the late Cenozoic history of vegetation and environmental change in the Linxia Basin at the northeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau. The δ13C values of fossil enamel from a diverse group of herbivores and of paleosol carbonate and organic matter indicate that C4 grasses were either absent or insignificant in the Linxia Basin prior to ˜2-3 Ma and only became a significant component of local ecosystems in the Quaternary. This is in striking contrast to what was observed in Pakistan, Nepal, Africa and the Americas where C4 plants expanded rapidly in the late Miocene as indicated by a positive δ13C shift in mammalian tooth enamel and paleosols. The δ18O results from the same herbivore species show several significant shifts in climate in the late Cenozoic. Most notably, a positive δ18O shift after ˜7 Ma indicates a shift to warmer and/or drier conditions and is comparable in timing and direction to the δ18O shift observed in paleosol carbonates in Pakistan and Nepal. This late Miocene climate change observed in the Indian sub-continent and in the Linxia Basin, however, seems to be a regional manifestation of a global climate change. The lack of evidence for C4 plants in the Linxia Basin prior to ˜2-3 Ma suggests that the East Asian summer monsoon, which brings precipitation into northern China during the summer and creates optimal conditions for the growth of C4 grasses, was probably not strong enough to affect this part of China throughout much of the Neogene. This implies that the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau may not have reached the present-day elevation across its vast extent to support a strong East Asian monsoon system before ˜2-3 Ma. Our data also suggest that regional climatic conditions played an important role in controlling the expansion of C4 plants.

  15. Organic Geochemistry of the Hamersley Province: Relationships Among Organic Carbon Isotopes, Molecular Fossils, and Lithology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.

    2012-01-01

    Molecular fossils are particularly valuable ancient biosignatures that can provide key insight about microbial sources and ecology in early Earth studies. In particular, hopanes carrying 2-methyl or 3-methyl substituents are proposed to be derived from cyanobacteria and oxygen-respiring methanotrophs, respectively, based on both their modem occurrences and their Proterozoic and Phanerozoic sedimentary distributions. Steranes are likely from ancestral eukaryotes. The distribution of methylhopanes, steranes, and other biomarkers in 2.72-2.56 billion-year-old rocks from the Hamersley Province, Western Australia show relationships to lithology, facies, and isotopes of macromolecular carbon, and other biomarkers. These observations support biomarker syngenicity and thermal maturity. Moreover, ecological signatures are revealed, including a surprising relationship between isotopic values for bulk macromolecular carbon and the biomarker for methanotrophs. The record suggests that cyanobacteria were likely key organisms of shallow-water microbial ecosystems providing molecular oxygen, fixed carbon, and possibly fixed nitrogen, and methanotrophs were not alone in recycling methane and other C-13-depleted substrates.

  16. River Valley pluton, Ontario - A late-Archean/early-Proterozoic anorthositic intrusion in the Grenville Province

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ashwal, Lewis D.; Wooden, Joseph L.

    1989-01-01

    This paper presents Nd, Sr, and Pb isotopic data indicating a late-Archean/early-Proterozoic age for the River Valley anorthositic pluton of the southwestern Grenville Province of Sudbury, Ontario. Pb-Pb isotopic data on 10 whole-rock samples ranging in composition from anorthosite to gabbro yield an age of 2560 + or - 155 Ma. The River Valley pluton is thus the oldest anorthositic intrusive yet recognized within the Grenville Province. The Sm-Nd isotopic system records an age of 2377 + or - 68 Ma. High Pb-208/Pb-204 of deformed samples relative to igneous-textured rocks implies Th introduction and/or U loss during metamorphism in the River Valley area. Rb-Sr data from igneous-textured and deformed samples and from mineral separates give an age of 2185 + or - 105 Ma, indicating substantial disturbance of the Rb-Sr isotopic system.

  17. Summary of the Snowmastodon Project Special Volume. A high-elevation, multi-proxy biotic and environmental record of MIS 6-4 from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Ian M.; Pigati, Jeffrey S.; Scott Anderson, R.; Johnson, Kirk R.; Mahan, Shannon A.; Ager, Thomas A.; Baker, Richard G.; Blaauw, Maarten; Bright, Jordon; Brown, Peter M.; Bryant, Bruce; Calamari, Zachary T.; Carrara, Paul E.; Cherney, Michael D.; Demboski, John R.; Elias, Scott A.; Fisher, Daniel C.; Gray, Harrison J.; Haskett, Danielle R.; Honke, Jeffrey S.; Jackson, Stephen T.; Jiménez-Moreno, Gonzalo; Kline, Douglas; Leonard, Eric M.; Lifton, Nathaniel A.; Lucking, Carol; Gregory McDonald, H.; Miller, Dane M.; Muhs, Daniel R.; Nash, Stephen E.; Newton, Cody; Paces, James B.; Petrie, Lesley; Plummer, Mitchell A.; Porinchu, David F.; Rountrey, Adam N.; Scott, Eric; Sertich, Joseph J. W.; Sharpe, Saxon E.; Skipp, Gary L.; Strickland, Laura E.; Stucky, Richard K.; Thompson, Robert S.; Wilson, Jim

    2014-11-01

    In North America, terrestrial records of biodiversity and climate change that span Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 are rare. Where found, they provide insight into how the coupling of the ocean-atmosphere system is manifested in biotic and environmental records and how the biosphere responds to climate change. In 2010-2011, construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA) revealed a nearly continuous, lacustrine/wetland sedimentary sequence that preserved evidence of past plant communities between ~ 140 and 55 ka, including all of MIS 5. At an elevation of 2705 m, the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site also contained thousands of well-preserved bones of late Pleistocene megafauna, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, horses, camels, deer, bison, black bear, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the site contained more than 26,000 bones from at least 30 species of small animals including salamanders, otters, muskrats, minks, rabbits, beavers, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. The combination of macro- and micro-vertebrates, invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic plant macrofossils, a detailed pollen record, and a robust, directly dated stratigraphic framework shows that high-elevation ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are climatically sensitive and varied dramatically throughout MIS 5.

  18. Origin of anthropoidea: dental evidence and recognition of early anthropoids in the fossil record, with comments on the Asian anthropoid radiation.

    PubMed

    Gunnell, G F; Miller, E R

    2001-03-01

    Among the earliest fossil anthropoid primates known are Catopithecus browni, Serapia eocaena, Arsinoea kallimos, and Proteopithecus sylviae, from the late Eocene quarry L-41, Fayum Depression, Egypt. Two of these taxa, C. browni and S. eocaena, may be the oldest known members of the Propliopithecidae and Parapithecidae, respectively, while A. kallimos and P. sylviae are archaic anthropoids of less certain familial affiliation. Dental features of C. browni, S. eocaena, A. kallimos, and P. sylviae are compared with those of younger propliopithecids and parapithecids from the Fayum in order to determine the morphocline polarities of dental features among these early anthropoids. From this, a basal African anthropoid dental morphotype is constructed. Among the features of this morphotype are: dental formula of 2.1.3.3; incisors subvertically implanted and somewhat spatulate; p2 as large as p3, both lacking paraconids; p4 weakly obliquely oriented but not exodaenodont; all lower molars with small paraconids present; upper anterior premolars lacking protocone; upper molars with small, cingular hypocones, all cheek teeth nonbunodont; and canines projecting but not necessarily sexually dimorphic. Comparisons are made between this African anthropoid morphotype and two of the best-represented proposed basal anthropoids, Eosimias and Djebelemur, with the result that neither appears to be a good candidate to have been ancestral to the African anthropoids. Other possible basal simians such as Algeripithecus, Tabelia, and Biretia also are evaluated but are too poorly known for adequate analysis. The larger-bodied Asian primates Pondaungia, Amphipithecus, and Siamopithecus also are not likely ancestors for African anthropoids, but like Eosimias they may share a common ancestry. Despite many recent claims of an Asian origin for anthropoids, the evidence remains far from compelling. The true origins of Anthropoidea remain obscure.

  19. Clinal morphological variation along a depth gradient in the living scleractinian reef coral Favia pallida: Effects on perceived evolutionary tempos in the fossil record

    SciTech Connect

    Cuffey, R.J. ); Pachut, J.F. )

    1990-12-01

    The Holocene reef-building coral Favia pallida was sampled at 4.5 m depth increments (to 40 m) from two reefs on Enewetak Atoll to examine intraspecific environmental effects. An exposed outer reef was massive and wall-like, whereas a sheltered lagoonal reef grew as a slender pinnacle. Corallite diameter and growth rate, two attributes retrievable in fossil corals, were measured with data partitioned into shallow (<20 m), intermediate (20 to 29 m), and deep-water (>29 m) subsets. Highly significant differences between depth zone populations were found for both corallite diameters and growth rates in analyses of individual and combined reef data sets. Canonical variates analyses (CVA) separated populations from depth zones along single, highly significant, functions. Centroids and 95% confidence intervals, calculated from CVA scores of colonies in each population, are widely separated for the lagoon reef and combined data sets. Conversely, populations from shallow and intermediate depths on the outer reef display overlapping confidence bars indicative of more gradational morphologic changes. When CV's were used to classify specimens to groups, misassignments of intermediate depth specimens to shallow or deep-water populations underscored the gradational nature of the environment. Completely intergrading populations of Favia pallida collected from different depths can be morphologically separated into statistically distinct groupings. A stratigraphic succession of such morphotypes might be interpreted as abruptly appearing separate species if sampling were not as uniform, systematic, and detailed as was possible on modern reefs. Analyses of evolutionary patterns must carefully assess potential effects of clinal variation if past evolutionary patterns are to be interpreted correctly.

  20. Late Quaternary vegetation and environments in the Verkhoyansk Mountains region (NE Asia) reconstructed from a 50-kyr fossil pollen record from Lake Billyakh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Müller, Stefanie; Tarasov, Pavel E.; Andreev, Andrei A.; Tütken, Thomas; Gartz, Steffi; Diekmann, Bernhard

    2010-08-01

    Here we present a detailed radiocarbon-dated 936 cm long pollen record from Lake Billyakh (65°17'N, 126°47'E; 340 m a.s.l.) situated in the western part of the Verkhoyansk Mountains, about 140 km south of the Arctic Circle. A set of 53 surface pollen samples representing tundra, cold deciduous forest and taiga was collected in northern and central Yakutia communities to verify the accuracy of the quantitative biome reconstruction method and to obtain a more precise attribution of the identified pollen taxa to the main regional biomes. The adjusted method is then applied to the pollen record from Lake Billyakh to gain a reconstruction of vegetation and environments since about 50.7 kyr BP. The results of the pollen analysis and pollen-based biome reconstruction suggest that herbaceous tundra and steppe communities dominated the area from 50.7 to 13.5 kyr BP. Relatively low pollen concentrations and high percentages of herbaceous pollen taxa (mainly Cyperaceae, Poaceae and Artemisia) likely indicate a reduced vegetation cover and/or lower pollen production. On the other hand, extremely low percentages of drought-tolerant taxa, such as Chenopodiaceae and Ephedra, and the constant presence of various mesophyllous herbaceous ( Thalictrum, Rosaceae, Asteraceae) and shrubby taxa ( Betula sect. Nanae/Fruticosae, Duschekia fruticosa, Salix) in the pollen assemblages prevent an interpretation of the last glacial environments around Lake Billyakh as extremely arid. The lowest pollen percentages of woody taxa and the highest values of Artemisia pollen attest that the 31-15 kyr BP period as the driest and coldest interval of the entire record. A relative high content of taxa representing shrub tundra communities and the presence of larch pollen recorded prior to 31 kyr and after 13.5 kyr BP likely indicate interstadial climate amelioration associated with the middle and latest parts of the last glacial. An increase in pollen percentages of herbaceous taxa around 12 kyr BP

  1. First record of the fossil snakefly genus Mesoraphidia (Insecta: Raphidioptera: Mesoraphidiidae) from the Middle Jurassic of China, with description of a new species.

    PubMed

    Lü, Ya-Nan; Liu, Xingyue; Dong, Ren

    2015-01-01

    Mesoraphidia daohugouensis sp. nov. is described from the Middle Jurassic Jiulongshan Formation of Inner Mongolia, China. It is diagnosed by the following character states: subquadrate pronotum, narrowly elliptical forewing, distally darkened pterostigma closed respectively by a proximal costal crossvein and a distal radial veinlet, absence of pterostigmal crossvein. The new species represents the first record of Mesoraphidiinae from the Middle Jurassic of China. PMID:26623595

  2. Using SHRIMP Zircon Geochronology to Characterise the Evolution of the Proterozoic Mount Isa Inlier, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neumann, N. L.; Southgate, P. N.; Gibson, G. M.

    2008-12-01

    The Proterozoic Mount Isa Inlier of northern Australia records an extensive record of basin evolution between 1800 Ma and 1575 Ma, and contains a number of world-class Pb-Zn-Ag, U and Iron Oxide Cu-Au deposits. Understanding the timing and nature of basin development is a critical component in understanding these mineral systems. The integration of U-Pb zircon SHIRMP geochronology with structural and facies analysis has allowed basin packages across this area to be divided into three superbasins; the Leichhardt, Calvert and Isa Superbasins. Detrital zircon geochronology of stratigraphic units within these basins has been used in conjunction with syn-sedimentary volcanics to constrain depositional ages, and to identify and characterise changes in provenance through time. Sedimentation between 1790 Ma and 1740 Ma associated with the Leichhardt Superbasin is characterised by fluvial to shallow marine sandstones deposited in half-grabens. Between 1690 Ma and 1670 Ma, deep-water turbidites in the eastern-most parts of the inlier were deposited during an interval of missing rock record on the platform to the west, and are coincident with the initiation of a break-up unconformity. Sedimentation between 1790 Ma and 1670 Ma is also associated with voluminous felsic and mafic magmatism, and mafic rocks emplaced during this time period record a change in geochemical signature from continental flood basalts to oceanic tholeiites. We interpret these changes to be consistent with an evolution in tectonic setting from intercontinental rifting to near passive margin development.

  3. Geology, geochronology, geochemistry, and Pb-isotopic compositions of Proterozoic rocks, Poachie region, west-central Arizona; a study of the east boundary of Proterozoic Mojave crustal province

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bryant, Bruce; Wooden, J.L.; Nealey, L. David

    2001-01-01

    The Poachie region at the south edge of the Colorado Plateau transition zone in western Arizona is underlain by early and middle Proterozoic plutonic rocks locally separated by screens of amphibolite-facies early Proterozoic metamorphic rocks and is in the eastern part of the Mojave crustal province, as shown by 35 Pb-isotope analyses of rocks and feldspars. Previously published mapping, 10 U-Pb zircon ages, 55 rock analyses, and other studies in the larger region of the transition zone lead to interpretation of the history and origin of the Proterozoic crust.

  4. A molecular time-scale for eukaryote evolution recalibrated with the continuous microfossil record

    PubMed Central

    Berney, Cédric; Pawlowski, Jan

    2006-01-01

    Recent attempts to establish a molecular time-scale of eukaryote evolution failed to provide a congruent view on the timing of the origin and early diversification of eukaryotes. The major discrepancies in molecular time estimates are related to questions concerning the calibration of the tree. To limit these uncertainties, we used here as a source of calibration points the rich and continuous microfossil record of dinoflagellates, diatoms and coccolithophorids. We calibrated a small-subunit ribosomal RNA tree of eukaryotes with four maximum and 22 minimum time constraints. Using these multiple calibration points in a Bayesian relaxed molecular clock framework, we inferred that the early radiation of eukaryotes occurred near the Mesoproterozoic–Neoproterozoic boundary, about 1100 million years ago. Our results indicate that most Proterozoic fossils of possible eukaryotic origin cannot be confidently assigned to extant lineages and should therefore not be used as calibration points in molecular dating. PMID:16822745

  5. Tectonics and metallogenesis of Proterozoic rocks of the Reading Prong

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gundersen, L.C.S.

    2004-01-01

    Detailed geologic mapping, petrography, and major and trace-element analyses of Proterozoic rocks from the Greenwood Lake Quadrangle, New York are compared with chemical analyses and stratigraphic information compiled for the entire Reading Prong. A persistent regional stratigraphy is evident in the mapped area whose geochemistry indicates protoliths consistent with a back-arc marginal basin sequence. The proposed marginal basin may have been floored by an older sialic basement and overlain by a basin-fill sequence consisting of a basal tholeiitic basalt, basic to intermediate volcanic or volcaniclastic rocks and carbonate sediments, a bimodal calc-alkaline volcanic sequence, and finally volcaniclastic, marine, and continental sediments. The presence of high-chlorine biotite and scapolite may indicate circulation of brine fluids or the presence of evaporite layers in the sequence. Abundant, stratabound magnetite deposits with a geologic setting very unlike that of cratonic, Proterozoic banded-iron formations are found throughout the proposed basin sequence. Associated with many of the magnetite deposits is unusual uranium and rare-earth element mineralization. It is proposed here that these deposits formed in an exhalative, volcanogenic, depositional environment within an extensional back-arc marginal basin. Such a tectonic setting is consistent with interpretations of protoliths in other portions of the Reading Prong, the Central Metasedimentary Belt of the Canadian Grenville Province, and recent interpretation of the origin of the Franklin lead-zinc deposits, suggesting a more cohesive evolving arc/back-arc tectonic model for the entire Proterozoic margin of the north-eastern portion of the North American craton. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  6. Tracing the stepwise oxygenation of the Proterozoic ocean.

    PubMed

    Scott, C; Lyons, T W; Bekker, A; Shen, Y; Poulton, S W; Chu, X; Anbar, A D

    2008-03-27

    Biogeochemical signatures preserved in ancient sedimentary rocks provide clues to the nature and timing of the oxygenation of the Earth's atmosphere. Geochemical data suggest that oxygenation proceeded in two broad steps near the beginning and end of the Proterozoic eon (2,500 to 542 million years ago). The oxidation state of the Proterozoic ocean between these two steps and the timing of deep-ocean oxygenation have important implications for the evolutionary course of life on Earth but remain poorly known. Here we present a new perspective on ocean oxygenation based on the authigenic accumulation of the redox-sensitive transition element molybdenum in sulphidic black shales. Accumulation of authigenic molybdenum from sea water is already seen in shales by 2,650 Myr ago; however, the small magnitudes of these enrichments reflect weak or transient sources of dissolved molybdenum before about 2,200 Myr ago, consistent with minimal oxidative weathering of the continents. Enrichments indicative of persistent and vigorous oxidative weathering appear in shales deposited at roughly 2,150 Myr ago, more than 200 million years after the initial rise in atmospheric oxygen. Subsequent expansion of sulphidic conditions after about 1,800 Myr ago (refs 8, 9) maintained a mid-Proterozoic molybdenum reservoir below 20 per cent of the modern inventory, which in turn may have acted as a nutrient feedback limiting the spatiotemporal distribution of euxinic (sulphidic) bottom waters and perhaps the evolutionary and ecological expansion of eukaryotic organisms. By 551 Myr ago, molybdenum contents reflect a greatly expanded oceanic reservoir due to oxygenation of the deep ocean and corresponding decrease in sulphidic conditions in the sediments and water column.

  7. The ancient sun: Fossil record in the earth, moon and meteorites; Proceedings of the Conference, Boulder, CO, October 16-19, 1979

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pepin, R. O. (Editor); Eddy, J. A.; Merrill, R. B.

    1980-01-01

    Papers are presented concerning theories of solar variability and their consequences for luminosity, particle emission and magnetic field changes within the past 4.5 billion years, and on the records of such solar behavior in lunar, meteoritic and terrestrial materials. Specific topics include the neutrino luminosity of the sun, the relation of sunspots to the terrestrial climate of the past 100 years, solar modulation of galactic cosmic rays, the historical record of solar activity, C-14 variations in terrestrial and marine reservoirs, and solar particle fluxes as indicated by track, thermoluminescence and solar wind measurements in lunar rocks. Attention is also given to the spin-down of the solar interior through circulation currents and fluid instabilities, grain surface exposure models in planetary regoliths, rare gases in the solar wind, nitrogen isotopic variations in the lunar regolith, the influence of solar UV radiation on climate, and the pre-main sequence evolution of the sun and evidence of the primordial solar wind in the electromagnetic induction heating of the asteroids and moon.

  8. Early Proterozoic ultrahigh pressure metamorphism: evidence from microdiamonds.

    PubMed

    Cartigny, Pierre; Chinn, Ingrid; Viljoen, K S; Robinson, Derek

    2004-05-01

    Microdiamonds from the Akluilâk minette dykes (Nunavut, Canada) are similar to diamonds formed in subducted metamorphic rocks. High concentrations of unaggregated nitrogen and positive delta(15)N suggest that the microdiamonds formed within rocks subducted to ultrahigh pressures before being sampled by the minette magma 1.8 billion years ago. This ultrahigh pressure metamorphism in North America, probably related to the Trans-Hudson orogen (about 2 billion years ago), extends the occurrence of ultrahigh pressure metamorphism from 0.6 billion years to before 1.8 billion years ago and suggests that Phanerozoic-type subductions were active by the Early Proterozoic.

  9. Chromium Isotopes in Carbonate Rocks: New Insights into Proterozoic Atmospheric Oxygenation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kah, L. C.; Gilleaudeau, G. J.; Frei, R.; Kaufman, A. J.; Azmy, K.; Bartley, J. K.; Chernyavskiy, P.; Knoll, A. H.

    2015-12-01

    There has been a long-standing debate in geobiology about the role that Earth's oxygenation played in the evolution of complex life. Temporal linkages exist between the Great Oxidation Event (GOE) and the evolution of eukaryotes, as well as Neoproterozoic rise in oxygen and the diversification of metazoans. Further advances have been hampered, however, by the lack of direct proxies that mark specific levels of atmospheric pO2 in the geologic past. Chromium (Cr) isotopes show promise in this regard because the oxidation of Cr during terrestrial weathering—which results in isotopic fractionation—is dependent on a specific threshold of atmospheric pO2 (0.1-1% of the present atmospheric level [PAL]). This threshold value broadly coincides with recent estimates of the oxygen requirements of early animals. Here we report new Cr-isotope data from four late Mesoproterozoic carbonate-dominated successions. Samples were collected from the Turukhansk Uplift (Siberia), the El Mreiti Group (Mauritania), the Vazante Group (Brazil), and the Angmaat Formation (Canada). We emphasize the application of Cr-isotopes to carbonate rocks because the broad temporal range of this lithology in the geologic record provides an opportunity to significantly expand our understanding of Proterozoic oxygenation on shorter time scales. Our data indicate that pO2 levels required to support early animals were attained long before Neoproterozoic metazoan diversification, although the large degree of isotopic heterogeneity in our dataset may indicate that pO2 > 0.1-1% PAL was only a transient phenomenon in the Mesoproterozoic. This study demonstrates the utility of Cr-isotopes as an atmospheric redox proxy in carbonate rocks and helps inform future avenues of research on Proterozoic pO2 thresholds.

  10. Proterozoic metamorphism and uplift history of the north-central Laramie Mountains, Wyoming, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Patel, S.C.; Frost, B.R.; Chamberlain, K.R.; Snyder, G.L.

    1999-01-01

    The Laramie Mountains of south-eastern Wyoming contain two metamorphic domains that are separated by the 1.76 Ga. Laramie Peak shear zone (LPSZ). South of the LPSZ lies the Palmer Canyon block, where apatite U-Pb ages are c. 1745 Ma and the rocks have undergone Proterozoic kyanite-grade Barrovian metamorphism. In contrast, in the Laramie Peak block, north of the shear zone, the U-Pb apatite ages are 2.4-2.1 Ga, the granitic rocks are unmetamorphosed and supracrustal rocks record only low-T amphibolite facies metamorphism that is Archean in age. Peak mineral assemblages in the Palmer Canyon block include (a) quartz-biotite-plagioclase-garnet-staurolite-kyanite in the pelitic schists; (b) quartz-biotite-plagioclase-low-Ca amphiboles-kyanite in Mg-Al-rich schists, and locally (c) hornblende-plagioclase-garnet in amphibolites. All rock types show abundant textural evidence of decompression and retrograde re-equilibration. Notable among the texturally late minerals are cordierite and sapphirine, which occur in coronas around kyanite in Mg-Al-rich schists. Thermobarometry from texturally early and late assemblages for samples from different areas within the Palmer Canyon block define decompression from > 7 kbar to < 3 kbar. The high-pressure regional metamorphism is interpreted to be a response to thrusting associated with the Medicine Bow orogeny at c. 1.78-1.76 Ga. At this time, the north-central Laramie Range was tectonically thickened by as much as 12 km. This crustal thickening extended for more than 60 km north of the Cheyenne belt in southern Wyoming. Late in the orogenic cycle, rocks of the Palmer Canyon block were uplifted and unroofed as the result of transpression along the Laramie Peak shear zone to produce the widespread decompression textures. The Proterozoic tectonic history of the central Laramie Range is similar to exhumation that accompanied late-orogenic oblique convergence in many Phanerozoic orogenic belts.

  11. The Earliest Fossil Evidence for Life on Land and the Freshwater Origin of Algae?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Battison, L.; Brasier, M. D.; Antcliffe, J. B.

    2009-04-01

    lagerstatte. Delicate cellular structures, and even sub-cellular structures, can be preserved with high fidelity in the phosphate. These cells show evidence for life cycles that ranged from resting cysts - sometimes sculptured - to colonial vegetative stages and thence to single celled dispersal stages. Cyanobacteria, eukaryotic protists and algae are all present. The ecological structure and responses of these Torridon lake communities can be compared with those of modern, mainly acidiphilic, lakes. Together with sedimentary structures and wrinkle mats of demonstrably microbial origin, we can point to the variable development of seasonal eutrophication and stagnation in the photic zone of these ancient lakes. Population statistics of the various morphotypes reveal differences between the assemblages collected from older and younger units of the Torridon Group, attributable to differing lacustrine ecologies. Such exceptional preservation in the Proterozoic is part of an emerging picture of evolving taphonomic styles through time, in which better preservation of cells is found as we go further back into the fossil record. We attribute this remarkable preservation in the Proterozoic to very early diagenesis in a world before the evolution of a sediment Mixed Layer during the Cambrian explosion of the Metazoa. This evidence suggests that Earth's terrestrial biota and its associated phosphorus cycle were well established on land by ~1000 Ma ago. It also suggests that many algal groups, which today are obligate freshwater denizens, may have originated in freshwater lakes over a billion years ago.

  12. Modes of fossil preservation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schopf, J.M.

    1975-01-01

    The processes of geologic preservation are important for understanding the organisms represented by fossils. Some fossil differences are due to basic differences in organization of animals and plants, but the interpretation of fossils has also tended to be influenced by modes of preservation. Four modes of preservation generally can be distinguished: (1) Cellular permineralization ("petrifaction") preserves anatomical detail, and, occasionally, even cytologic structures. (2) Coalified compression, best illustrated by structures from coal but characteristic of many plant fossils in shale, preserves anatomical details in distorted form and produces surface replicas (impressions) on enclosing matrix. (3) Authigenic preservation replicates surface form or outline (molds and casts) prior to distortion by compression and, depending on cementation and timing, may intergrade with fossils that have been subject to compression. (4) Duripartic (hard part) preservation is characteristic of fossil skeletal remains, predominantly animal. Molds, pseudomorphs, or casts may form as bulk replacements following dissolution of the original fossil material, usually by leaching. Classification of the kinds of preservation in fossils will aid in identifying the processes responsible for modifying the fossil remains of both animals and plants. ?? 1975.

  13. Rock magnetic characterization and potential use as a high-resolution paleomagnetic recorder of fossil Porites corals in Ishigaki Island, Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kumagai, Y.; Nakamura, N.; Sato, T.

    2015-12-01

    Radiocarbon (14C) is produced by the cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere and is utilized for reconstructing the past solar activity using tree rings. This 14C production is also controlled by the geomagnetic field, and the short-term (at the ~ 10-100 yr duration) movement of the geomagnetic pole to the low latitude, like geomagnetic jerks, might leads to a higher 14C production rate. In order to reconstruct the past solar activity from the 14C concentration, we should know the movement of geomagnetic pole position and the field intensity in a decadal to centennial time series. Previous reconstructions of geomagnetic paleosecular variation lack to reconstruct the short-term variation of geomagnetic field in a decadal or centennial scale. Annual banded skeletons of hermatipic corals (e.g., Porites) might possess an enormous potential as a high-resolution paleomagnetic recorder due to their continuous growths through hundreds of years at a rapid rate (up to 2 cm/yr), although usual corals show an extremely weak intensity of remanence and its low stability. Here we found that recently-ceased Porites coral skeletons thrown up on beach of the Ishigaki Island (SW Japan) possess measurable natural remanence intensities and conducted thermal and AF demagnetization of coral skeletons. The characteristic remanence directions of almost all samples are relatively stable with some fluctuations. However, some samples exhibit obviously different remanence directions from its average with calcite peaks of X-ray diffraction analysis. It is indicated that the magnetic mineral assemblage consists of a dominant biogenic-origin single-domain magnetite and a minor detrital component from FORC measurement, FMR measurement and petrological observations by FE-SEM of acid-treated residuals of our corals. Our findings suggest that Porites coral framework samples have a potential use as a high-resolution paleomagnetic recorder with careful examination of calcite content.

  14. Molar tooth carbonates and benthic methane fluxes in Proterozoic oceans.

    PubMed

    Shen, Bing; Dong, Lin; Xiao, Shuhai; Lang, Xianguo; Huang, Kangjun; Peng, Yongbo; Zhou, Chuanming; Ke, Shan; Liu, Pengju

    2016-01-01

    Molar tooth structures are ptygmatically folded and microspar-filled structures common in early- and mid-Proterozoic (∼2,500-750 million years ago, Ma) subtidal successions, but extremely rare in rocks <750 Ma. Here, on the basis of Mg and S isotopes, we show that molar tooth structures may have formed within sediments where microbial sulphate reduction and methanogenesis converged. The convergence was driven by the abundant production of methyl sulphides (dimethyl sulphide and methanethiol) in euxinic or H2S-rich seawaters that were widespread in Proterozoic continental margins. In this convergence zone, methyl sulphides served as a non-competitive substrate supporting methane generation and methanethiol inhibited anaerobic oxidation of methane, resulting in the buildup of CH4, formation of degassing cracks in sediments and an increase in the benthic methane flux from sediments. Precipitation of crack-filling microspar was driven by methanogenesis-related alkalinity accumulation. Deep ocean ventilation and oxygenation around 750 Ma brought molar tooth structures to an end. PMID:26739600

  15. Molar tooth carbonates and benthic methane fluxes in Proterozoic oceans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shen, Bing; Dong, Lin; Xiao, Shuhai; Lang, Xianguo; Huang, Kangjun; Peng, Yongbo; Zhou, Chuanming; Ke, Shan; Liu, Pengju

    2016-01-01

    Molar tooth structures are ptygmatically folded and microspar-filled structures common in early- and mid-Proterozoic (~2,500-750 million years ago, Ma) subtidal successions, but extremely rare in rocks <750 Ma. Here, on the basis of Mg and S isotopes, we show that molar tooth structures may have formed within sediments where microbial sulphate reduction and methanogenesis converged. The convergence was driven by the abundant production of methyl sulphides (dimethyl sulphide and methanethiol) in euxinic or H2S-rich seawaters that were widespread in Proterozoic continental margins. In this convergence zone, methyl sulphides served as a non-competitive substrate supporting methane generation and methanethiol inhibited anaerobic oxidation of methane, resulting in the buildup of CH4, formation of degassing cracks in sediments and an increase in the benthic methane flux from sediments. Precipitation of crack-filling microspar was driven by methanogenesis-related alkalinity accumulation. Deep ocean ventilation and oxygenation around 750 Ma brought molar tooth structures to an end.

  16. Molar tooth carbonates and benthic methane fluxes in Proterozoic oceans

    PubMed Central

    Shen, Bing; Dong, Lin; Xiao, Shuhai; Lang, Xianguo; Huang, Kangjun; Peng, Yongbo; Zhou, Chuanming; Ke, Shan; Liu, Pengju

    2016-01-01

    Molar tooth structures are ptygmatically folded and microspar-filled structures common in early- and mid-Proterozoic (∼2,500–750 million years ago, Ma) subtidal successions, but extremely rare in rocks <750 Ma. Here, on the basis of Mg and S isotopes, we show that molar tooth structures may have formed within sediments where microbial sulphate reduction and methanogenesis converged. The convergence was driven by the abundant production of methyl sulphides (dimethyl sulphide and methanethiol) in euxinic or H2S-rich seawaters that were widespread in Proterozoic continental margins. In this convergence zone, methyl sulphides served as a non-competitive substrate supporting methane generation and methanethiol inhibited anaerobic oxidation of methane, resulting in the buildup of CH4, formation of degassing cracks in sediments and an increase in the benthic methane flux from sediments. Precipitation of crack-filling microspar was driven by methanogenesis-related alkalinity accumulation. Deep ocean ventilation and oxygenation around 750 Ma brought molar tooth structures to an end. PMID:26739600

  17. Causes and consequences of mid-Proterozoic anoxia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Derry, Louis A.

    2015-10-01

    Evidence for low pO2 and a ferruginous ocean characterize the mid-Proterozoic (1.8-0.8 Ga). Considerations of redox sources and sinks imply that generation of O2 via organic carbon (Corg) burial must be low to maintain a low pO2 atmosphere for geologically long intervals, yet low oxygen should result in increased Corg preservation. Marine export production must therefore be low to limit Corg burial and O2 generation. Formation of ferrous phosphate can buffer deepwater phosphate (Pi) to levels an order of magnitude or more below those in the modern ocean, limiting export production. Low deepwater Pi is consistent with the hiatus in sedimentary phosphorite deposits during the mid-Proterozoic, and low pO2 limits formation of sedimentary iron deposits (BIF). We propose that low pO2 was maintained by P limitation resulting from ferrous phosphate buffering. The near-absence of BIF and phosphorite deposition is direct and indirect consequences of the low pO2, respectively.

  18. Restoring Fossil Creek

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flaccus, Kathleen; Vlieg, Julie; Marks, Jane C.; LeRoy, Carri J.

    2004-01-01

    Fossil Creek had been dammed for the past 90 years, and plans were underway to restore the stream. The creek runs through Central Arizona and flows from the high plateaus to the desert, cutting through the same formations that form the Grand Canyon. This article discusses the Fossil Creek monitoring project. In this project, students and teachers…

  19. Late Cretaceous remagnetization of Proterozoic mafic dikes, southern Highland Mountains, southwestern Montana: A paleomagnetic and 40Ar/39Ar study

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Harlan, S.S.; Geissman, J.W.; Snee, L.W.; Reynolds, R.L.

    1996-01-01

    Paleomagnetic results from Early Proterozoic metabasite sills and Middle Proterozoic diabase dikes from the southern Highland Mountains of southwestern Montana give well-defined, dual-polarity magnetizations that are statistically identical to those from a small Late Cretaceous pluton that cuts the dikes. The concordance of paleomagnetic directions from rocks of three widely separated ages indicates that the Proterozoic rocks were remagnetized, probably during Late Cretaceous time. Paleomagnetic, rock magnetic, and petrographic observations from the metabasite and diabase samples indicate that remanence is carried primarily by low-Ti magnetite. Combining virtual geomagnetic poles from metabasite sills, diabase dikes, and the Late Cretaceous pluton, we obtain a paleomagnetic pole at 85.5??N, 310.7??E (K = 19.9, A95 = 9.1??, N = 14 sites) that is similar to a reference pole from the 74 Ma Adel Mountain Volcanics of western Montana. Biotite and hornblende 40Ar/39Ar isotopic dates from host basement geneiss and a hornblende from a remagnetized metabasite sill yield ages of ca. 1800 Ma; these dates probably record cooling of the southern Highland Mountains following high-grade metamorphism at 1.9-1.8 Ga. The gneiss and metabasite age spectra show virtually no evidence of disturbance, indicating that the basement rocks were never heated to temperatures sufficient to cause even partial resetting of their argon systems. Thus, the overprint magnetization of the Highland Mountains rocks is not a thermoremanent magnetization acquired during conductive cooling of nearby Late Cretaceous plutons. Remagnetization of the metabasite sills and diabase dikes was probably caused by localized thermochemical and thermoviscous effects during circulation of Late Cretaceous hydrothermal fluids related to epithermal mineralization. The absence of significant disturbance to the 40Ar/39Ar age spectrum from the remagnetized metabasite hornblende indicates that some secondary magnetizations may

  20. Fossil fuels -- future fuels

    SciTech Connect

    1998-03-01

    Fossil fuels -- coal, oil, and natural gas -- built America`s historic economic strength. Today, coal supplies more than 55% of the electricity, oil more than 97% of the transportation needs, and natural gas 24% of the primary energy used in the US. Even taking into account increased use of renewable fuels and vastly improved powerplant efficiencies, 90% of national energy needs will still be met by fossil fuels in 2020. If advanced technologies that boost efficiency and environmental performance can be successfully developed and deployed, the US can continue to depend upon its rich resources of fossil fuels.

  1. Landscape planning for the future: using fossil records to independently validate potential threats, opportunities and likely future range-shifts for socio-economically valuable plant species in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Macias Fauria, M.; Willis, K. J.

    2011-12-01

    Bioclimatic Envelope Models (BEMs) for a set of socio-economically important tree species in Europe were independently validated using a hindcasting approach and fossil pollen records spanning the last 1000 years, including the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), the Little Ice Age (LIA) and the 20th Century warming (PRES). The aim was to determine the accuracy of combining BEMs and palaeoecological data to predict continental-scale changes in distribution, and the availability of fossil data to hindcast economically important species. Eight types of BEMs were implemented in this study, covering most state-of-the-art modelling techniques. Present and palaeoclimatic data were obtained from the Atmosphere-Ocean Global Circulation Model ECHO-G. Last millenium was divided into three climatically distinct periods: MWP (AD 900-1300), LIA (AD 1600-1850) and PRES (AD 1900-2000). Models were calibrated for each period and validated with climatic and pollen data from the remaining periods. Successfully validated models were projected onto a 1-degree European grid, allowing the reconstruction of past modelled species distributions. BEMs were successfully validated with independent data. Strong model performance suggested high potential for BEMs to be used to model future species distributions, and highlighted the importance of palaeoecological data to independently validate these models, taking into account the scales at which this data operates. Although valid, BEMs showed poorer performance with species heavily managed and/or growing in heterogeneous terrain or with discontinuous distributions. Last millennium in Europe was characterized by an increase of crop woody species and a decline of forest species, suggesting an increasing land use by humans. The same approach was then implemented to a set of sub-Saharan plant species of high importance as a source of food, wood, and other ecosystem services such as carbon storage or erosion protection. The African study covered most of the

  2. Buried Proterozoic foredeep under the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boerner, D. E.; Kurtz, R. D.; Craven, J. A.; Rondenay, S.; Qian, W.

    1995-04-01

    Electromagnetic studies of the Precambrian basement beneath the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin in Alberta indicate a narrow linear conductivity anomaly spatially correlated with a strong positive magnetic feature, the Red Deer high. The conductor is located below sedimentary cover near the top of the crystalline basement and has limited depth extent. We propose that this anomalous feature represents graphitic metasedimentary rocks in the euxinic-flysch facies of a Proterozoic foredeep sequence. The strong magnetic anomaly results from an associated iron formation deposited on the outer ramp of the foredeep. This model explains the geophysical anomalies, has analogues on the exposed shield, and is consistent with the timing, deformation history, and known geology of the Precambrian basement.

  3. Preliminary paleomagnetic poles and correlation of the Proterozoic Uinta Mountain Group, Utah and Colorado

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bressler, Stephen L.

    1981-09-01

    Stable paleomagnetic directions have been obtained from seven sites spanning much of the 7-km-thick middle Proterozoic Uinta Mountain Group. The characteristic magnetization is carried partly by detrital(?) and secondary specularite and partly by hematite pigment. Preliminary paleomagnetic poles for six of the seven sites are closely grouped and their mean pole is 0.6°N, 157.2°E ( N = 6, α 95 = 5.4°). The pole for the seventh and stratigraphically highest site lies to the west, 4.6°N, 140.1°E, and ( n = 8, α 95= 15.9°). On the basis of the poles, revisions to correlations of the Uinta Mountain Group with other sequences are proposed. The Uinta Mountain Group appears to correlate with the Chuar Group and perhaps the upper member of the underlying Nankoweap Formation, and post-dates the Unkar Group of the Grand Canyon Supergroup. In addition, the upper part of the Uinta Mountain Group appears to correlate with the Little Dal Group of the Northwest Territories, Canada. The Uinta Mountain Group appears to entirely post-date the Belt Supergroup of Montana and Idaho. Correlation of the Uinta Mountain Group with the Chuar and Little Dal Groups is supported by the presence of the fossil Chuaria and by apparently overlapping isotopic ages. A maximum age range for the Uinta Mountain Group, extrapolated from the Grand Canyon Supergroup and the Little Dal Group, extends from <1100 to > 770 m.y.

  4. Proterozoic history of the midcontinent region of North America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bickford, M. E.; van, W. R.; Zietz, Isidore

    1986-06-01

    Age and petrographic data from the buried basement of the midcontinent region of North America, integrated with information from exposed rocks and magnetic- and gravity-anomaly maps, allow much of the Proterozoic history of the region to be assembled. The Superior craton may be traced into the subsurface on the basis of characteristic magnetic patterns and limited age data. The region between the Superior craton and the Wyoming craton to the west is evidently underlain by southerly extension of the Trans-Hudson orogen of Canada. The Penokean orogen formed on the southern margin of the Superior craton 1890 1830 Ma, but is not inferred west of northwestern Iowa in the subsurface. Between 1780 and 1720 Ma, a major orogen developed along the southern margin of the continent and is exposed in Arizona and Colorado. These rocks are volcanogenic and, for the most part, juvenile additions to the crust; they can be traced beneath the plains as far as eastern Kansas and Nebraska. Another orogen formed farther to the south about 1700 1630 Ma and is exposed in southern Arizona and New Mexico; rocks of this age and type have beer, traced as far east as central Missouri but may extend as far as central Michigan. A major geophysical feature of the midcontinent is a system of northwest-trending magnetic and gravity anomalies in Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska; the origin of these is not currently understood. The tectonic history of the midcontinent between 1480 and 1340 Ma was dominated by extensional formation of two widespread granite-rhyolite terranes that evidently were formed from, and overlie, the orogenic provinces. The older, formed 1450 1480 Ma, underlies the eastern midcontinent, whereas the younger, formed 1340 1400 Ma, underlies the southwestern midcontinent. The latest Proterozoic events were the formation of the midcontinent rift system and the collisional Grenville and Llano provinces about 1100 Ma.

  5. Fossil Record of Precambrian Life on Land

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knauth, Paul

    2000-01-01

    The argument that the earth's early ocean was up to two times modern salinity was published in 'Nature' and presented at the 1998 Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Toronto. The argument is bolstered by chemical data for fluid inclusions in Archean black smokers. The inclusions were 1.7 times the modern salinity causing the authors to interpret the parent fluids as evaporite brines (in a deep marine setting). I reinterpreted the data in terms of the predicted value of high Archean salinities. If the arguments I presented are on track, early life was either halophilic or non-marine. Halophiles are not among the most primitive organisms based on RNA sequencing, so here is an a priori argument that non-marine environments may have been the site of most early biologic evolution. This result carries significant implications for the issue of past life on Mars or current life on the putative sub-ice oceans on Europa and possibly Callisto. If the Cl/H2O ratio on these objects is similar to that of the earth, then oceans and oceanic sediments are probably not the preferred sites for early life. On Mars, this means that non-marine deposits such as caliche in basalt may be an overlooked potential sample target.

  6. Globular cluster formation - The fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Murray, Stephen D.; Lin, Douglas N. C.

    1992-01-01

    Properties of globular clusters which have remained unchanged since their formation are used to infer the internal pressures, cooling times, and dynamical times of the protocluster clouds immediately prior to the onset of star formation. For all globular clusters examined, it is found that the cooling times are much less than the dynamical times, implying that the protoclusters must have been maintained in thermal equilibrium by external heat sources, with fluxes consistent with those found in previous work, and giving the observed rho-T relation. Self-gravitating clouds cannot be stably heated, so that the Jeans mass forms an upper limit to the cluster masses. The observed dependence of protocluster pressure upon galactocentric position implies that the protocluster clouds were in hydrostatic equilibrium after their formation. The pressure dependence is well fitted by that expected for a quasi-statically evolving background hot gas, shock heated to its virial temperature. The observations and inferences are combined with previous theoretical work to construct a picture of globular cluster formation.

  7. The Lake Superior Oronto Group, a middle Proterozoic exploration model for the late Proterozoic Chuar Group of the Grand Canyon

    SciTech Connect

    Dickas, A.B. ); Mudrey, M.G. Jr )

    1992-04-01

    The Lake Superior Oronto Group and the Grand Canyon Chuar Group are the most significant Precambrian hydrocarbon targets within the conterminous United States. These frontier terrains share common Proterozoic age, comparable total organic carbon source rock values, association with Indian-interest properties, plus similarities in reservoir, trap, and maturation characteristics. Extensively studied since 1980, the exploration philosophy applied to the Oronto Group is presented as a model for Chuar Group hydrocarbon evaluation. Hydrocarbon shows have been reported since 1852 from middle Proterozoic rocks of the Lake Superior basin. Occurrences include stains within stromatolitic facies of the Copper Harbor Conglomerate, live subsurface seeps within Nonesuch units in the White Pine copper mine of Michigan, and impsonite-like inclusions within calcite veins of the Freda Formation. These formations compose the Oronto Group, a synrift package infilling the Lake Superior basin of the mid-continent rift system. Seep analyses identify a low sulfur (0.02%), paraffinic (67%), 34 API crude indirectly dated (Rb/Sr) at a minimum of 1047{plus minus}35 Ma. Nonesuch Formation source shales are present within both central horst structures and flank half-grabens. Reservoir-quality criteria are associated with adjacent Copper Harbor and overlying Freda Formation units. Seismically identified traps range from anticlinal and drag folding to onlap, stratigraphic, and unconformity closures. The Lake Superior segment of the mid-continent rift system is subdivided into four structural units (I-IV). Association of oil seeps with stratiform copper deposits (unit III) suggests evidence of geochemical symbiosis. This crude entered oil-window status circa 1.0 Ga due to migrating cupriferous thermal systems.

  8. Late-Proterozoic to Paleozoic history of the peri-Gondwana Calabria-Peloritani Terrane inferred from a review of zircon chronology.

    PubMed

    Fornelli, Annamaria; Micheletti, Francesca; Piccarreta, Giuseppe

    2016-01-01

    U-Pb analyses of zircon from ten samples of augen gneisses, eight mafic and intermediate metaigneous rocks and six metasediments from some tectonic domains along the Calabria-Peloritani Terrane (Southern Italy) contribute to knowledge of peri-Gondwanan evolution from Late-Proterozoic to Paleozoic times. All samples were equilibrated under amphibolite to granulite facies metamorphism during the Variscan orogeny. The zircon grains of all considered samples preserve a Proterozoic memory suggestive of detrital, metamorphic and igneous origin. The available data fit a frame involving: (1) Neoproterozoic detrital input from cratonic areas of Gondwana; (2) Pan-African/Cadomian assemblage of blocks derived from East and West African Craton; (3) metamorphism and bimodal magmatism between 535 and 579 Ma, within an active margin setting; (4) rifting and opening of Ordovician basins fed by detrital input from the assembled Cadomian blocks. The Paleozoic basins evolved through sedimentation, metamorphism and magmatism during the Variscan orogeny involving Palaeozoic and pre-Paleozoic blocks. The Proterozoic zircon records decidedly decrease in the high grade metamorphic rocks affected by Variscan pervasive partial melting. PMID:27026906

  9. Late-Proterozoic to Paleozoic history of the peri-Gondwana Calabria-Peloritani Terrane inferred from a review of zircon chronology.

    PubMed

    Fornelli, Annamaria; Micheletti, Francesca; Piccarreta, Giuseppe

    2016-01-01

    U-Pb analyses of zircon from ten samples of augen gneisses, eight mafic and intermediate metaigneous rocks and six metasediments from some tectonic domains along the Calabria-Peloritani Terrane (Southern Italy) contribute to knowledge of peri-Gondwanan evolution from Late-Proterozoic to Paleozoic times. All samples were equilibrated under amphibolite to granulite facies metamorphism during the Variscan orogeny. The zircon grains of all considered samples preserve a Proterozoic memory suggestive of detrital, metamorphic and igneous origin. The available data fit a frame involving: (1) Neoproterozoic detrital input from cratonic areas of Gondwana; (2) Pan-African/Cadomian assemblage of blocks derived from East and West African Craton; (3) metamorphism and bimodal magmatism between 535 and 579 Ma, within an active margin setting; (4) rifting and opening of Ordovician basins fed by detrital input from the assembled Cadomian blocks. The Paleozoic basins evolved through sedimentation, metamorphism and magmatism during the Variscan orogeny involving Palaeozoic and pre-Paleozoic blocks. The Proterozoic zircon records decidedly decrease in the high grade metamorphic rocks affected by Variscan pervasive partial melting.

  10. Magmatism in the Carolina terrane: Isotopic evidence for a Grenville-age source for Late Proterozoic volcanics and a mantle source for Silurian Concord syenite

    SciTech Connect

    Kozuch, M.; Heatherington, A.L.; Mueller, P.A. . Dept. of Geology); Offield, T.W.; Koeppen, R.P.; Klein, T.L. )

    1992-01-01

    Rhyolitic to andesitic volcanic rocks from the central portion of the Carolina slate belt in North Carolina were analyzed for Sr and Nd isotopic composition and dated by U-Pb zircon geochronology. Samples were from the greenschist-facies Late Proterozoic Albemarle Group, Uwharrie Formation, and the informal Virginia sequence. A rhyolite from the Cid Formation of the Albemarle Group dated by U-Pb zircon geochronology yielded a Pb-207/Pb-206 age of 575 [+-] 7.6 Ma, consistent with its position below strata containing the Late Proterozoic trace fossil Pteridinium and above rocks previously dated at 586 [+-] 10 Ma. Rb-Sr isotopic analyses of late Proterozoic rocks showed average initial Sr-87/Sr-86 ratios of approximately 0.704, indicating a moderately depleted source for these samples. E[sub ND] values at 600 Ma are moderately positive (+0.7 [minus] +2.3) and T(DM) values range from 1.19--1.04 Ga. These isotopic data, along with major and trace element data, suggest that andesites and rhyolites of the Carolina slate belt may have formed by partial melting of attenuated, Grenville-aged continental lithosphere during a 600 Ma episode of arc volcanism. In contrast, Sr and Nd data for the younger ([approximately]400 Ma) Concord pluton indicate it was derived from a depleted mantle source (Sr-87/Sr-86 = 0.7021 and E[sub ND] = +0.4 at 400 Ma) without significant involvement of older lithosphere (T(DM) = 370 Ma).

  11. Fossil Simulation in the Classroom

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hoehn, Robert G.

    1977-01-01

    Describes classroom science demonstrations and experiments that simulate the process of fossil formation. Lists materials, procedures and suggestions for successful activities. Includes ten student activities (coral fossils, leaf fossils, leaf scars, carbonization, etc.). Describes a fossil game in which students work in pairs. (CS)

  12. Facies analysis of Late Proterozoic through Lower Cambrian rocks of the Death Valley regional ground-water system and surrounding areas, Nevada and California

    SciTech Connect

    Sweetkind, D.S.; White, D.K.

    2002-03-15

    Late Proterozoic through Lower Cambrian rocks in the southern Great Basin form a westward-thickening wedge of predominantly clastic deposits that record deposition on the early western shelf edge of western North America (Stewart and Poole, 1974; Poole and others, 1992). Regional analyses of geologic controls on ground-water flow in the southern Great Basin typically combined lithostratigraphic units into more general hydrogeologic units that have considerable lateral extent and distinct hydrologic properties. The Late Proterozoic through Lower Cambrian rocks have been treated as a single hydrogeologic unit, named the lower clastic aquitard (Winograd and Thordarson, 1975) or the quartzite confining unit (Laczniak and others, 1996), that serves as the hydrologic basement to the flow system. Although accurate in a general sense, this classification ignores well-established facies relations within these rocks that might increase bedrock permeability and locally influence ground-water flow . This report presents a facies analysis of Late Proterozoic through Lower Cambrian rocks (hereafter called the study interval) in the Death Valley regional ground-water flow system - that portion of the southern Great Basin that includes Death Valley, the Nevada Test Site, and the potential high-level nuclear waste underground repository at Yucca Mountain (fig. 1). The region discussed in this report, hereafter called the study area, covers approximately 100,000 km2 (lat 35 degrees-38 degrees 15'N., long 115 degrees-118 degrees W.). The purpose of this analysis is to provide a general documentation of facies transitions within the Late Proterozoic through Lower Cambrian rocks in order to provide an estimate of material properties (via rock type, grain size, and bedding characteristics) for specific hydrogeologic units to be included in a regional ground-water flow model.

  13. Earth history. Low mid-Proterozoic atmospheric oxygen levels and the delayed rise of animals.

    PubMed

    Planavsky, Noah J; Reinhard, Christopher T; Wang, Xiangli; Thomson, Danielle; McGoldrick, Peter; Rainbird, Robert H; Johnson, Thomas; Fischer, Woodward W; Lyons, Timothy W

    2014-10-31

    The oxygenation of Earth's surface fundamentally altered global biogeochemical cycles and ultimately paved the way for the rise of metazoans at the end of the Proterozoic. However, current estimates for atmospheric oxygen (O2) levels during the billion years leading up to this time vary widely. On the basis of chromium (Cr) isotope data from a suite of Proterozoic sediments from China, Australia, and North America, interpreted in the context of data from similar depositional environments from Phanerozoic time, we find evidence for inhibited oxidation of Cr at Earth's surface in the mid-Proterozoic (1.8 to 0.8 billion years ago). These data suggest that atmospheric O2 levels were at most 0.1% of present atmospheric levels. Direct evidence for such low O2 concentrations in the Proterozoic helps explain the late emergence and diversification of metazoans.

  14. Extending the western North American Proterozoic and Paleozoic continental crust through the Mojave Desert

    SciTech Connect

    Martin, M.W.; Walker, J.D. )

    1992-08-01

    Data supporting the existence of Proterozoic basement in the central and western Mojave Desert include U-Pb zircon geochronology and Nd, Sr, and Pb isotopic values of quartzofeldspathic gneisses, detrital zircon provenance ages, and the presence of basement clasts in Paleozoic and Mesozoic conglomerates. These data corroborate existing isotopic data from Mesozoic and Tertiary intrusive rocks that suggest involvement of Proterozoic crust in their genesis. Exposures of Proterozoic basement and Late Proterozoic and Paleozoic transitional miogeoclinal-cratonal facies trends in the central and western Mojave Desert consistently imply that cratonal North America continues westward uninterrupted through this region to the San Andreas fault. These data place geographic limits on the position of several pre-Tertiary tectonic elements speculated to exist in the Mojave Desert.

  15. Low Mid-Proterozoic atmospheric oxygen levels and the delayed rise of animals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Planavsky, Noah J.; Reinhard, Christopher T.; Wang, Xiangli; Thomson, Danielle; McGoldrick, Peter; Rainbird, Robert H.; Johnson, Thomas; Fischer, Woodward W.; Lyons, Timothy W.

    2014-10-01

    The oxygenation of Earth’s surface fundamentally altered global biogeochemical cycles and ultimately paved the way for the rise of metazoans at the end of the Proterozoic. However, current estimates for atmospheric oxygen (O2) levels during the billion years leading up to this time vary widely. On the basis of chromium (Cr) isotope data from a suite of Proterozoic sediments from China, Australia, and North America, interpreted in the context of data from similar depositional environments from Phanerozoic time, we find evidence for inhibited oxidation of Cr at Earth’s surface in the mid-Proterozoic (1.8 to 0.8 billion years ago). These data suggest that atmospheric O2 levels were at most 0.1% of present atmospheric levels. Direct evidence for such low O2 concentrations in the Proterozoic helps explain the late emergence and diversification of metazoans.

  16. An early Oligocene fossil demonstrates treeshrews are slowly evolving "living fossils".

    PubMed

    Li, Qiang; Ni, Xijun

    2016-01-14

    Treeshrews are widely considered a "living model" of an ancestral primate, and have long been called "living fossils". Actual fossils of treeshrews, however, are extremely rare. We report a new fossil species of Ptilocercus treeshrew recovered from the early Oligocene (~34 Ma) of China that represents the oldest definitive fossil record of the crown group of treeshrews and nearly doubles the temporal length of their fossil record. The fossil species is strikingly similar to the living Ptilocercus lowii, a species generally recognized as the most plesiomorphic extant treeshrew. It demonstrates that Ptilocercus treeshrews have undergone little evolutionary change in their morphology since the early Oligocene. Morphological comparisons and phylogenetic analysis support the long-standing idea that Ptilocercus treeshrews are morphologically conservative and have probably retained many characters present in the common stock that gave rise to archontans, which include primates, flying lemurs, plesiadapiforms and treeshrews. This discovery provides an exceptional example of slow morphological evolution in a mammalian group over a period of 34 million years. The persistent and stable tropical environment in Southeast Asia through the Cenozoic likely played a critical role in the survival of such a morphologically conservative lineage.

  17. An early Oligocene fossil demonstrates treeshrews are slowly evolving "living fossils".

    PubMed

    Li, Qiang; Ni, Xijun

    2016-01-01

    Treeshrews are widely considered a "living model" of an ancestral primate, and have long been called "living fossils". Actual fossils of treeshrews, however, are extremely rare. We report a new fossil species of Ptilocercus treeshrew recovered from the early Oligocene (~34 Ma) of China that represents the oldest definitive fossil record of the crown group of treeshrews and nearly doubles the temporal length of their fossil record. The fossil species is strikingly similar to the living Ptilocercus lowii, a species generally recognized as the most plesiomorphic extant treeshrew. It demonstrates that Ptilocercus treeshrews have undergone little evolutionary change in their morphology since the early Oligocene. Morphological comparisons and phylogenetic analysis support the long-standing idea that Ptilocercus treeshrews are morphologically conservative and have probably retained many characters present in the common stock that gave rise to archontans, which include primates, flying lemurs, plesiadapiforms and treeshrews. This discovery provides an exceptional example of slow morphological evolution in a mammalian group over a period of 34 million years. The persistent and stable tropical environment in Southeast Asia through the Cenozoic likely played a critical role in the survival of such a morphologically conservative lineage. PMID:26766238

  18. How Strong is the Case for Proterozoic Low-Latitude Glaciation?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evans, D. A.

    2004-05-01

    The most recent global compilations of paleomagnetic depositional latitudes for Proterozoic glaciogenic formations indicate a dominant mode near the paleo-equator (Evans 2000 AJS; Evans 2003 Tectonophysics). This result would therefore support either the snowball Earth or the large-obliquity hypotheses for Precambrian ice ages, but would reject the uniformitarian comparison to polar-temperate-restricted Phanerozoic glaciogenic deposits. The most reliable low-latitude results come from the Australian Marinoan succession, but a recent summary of these units has suggested that a glaciogenic origin is not yet demonstrated (Eyles and Januszczak 2004 Earth-Sci Reviews). It becomes useful, then, to review the global evidence for Proterozoic low-latitude glaciation. Eyles and Januszczak (ibid.) identified 13 Neoproterozoic deposits with "demonstrated" glacial influence. Among these, poor age constraints and lack of paleomagnetic data prohibit estimation of depositional paleolatitudes for the Fiq, Sturtian, Vreeland, Taoudeni, East Greenland, Port Askaig, and Zhengmuguan units. Moderate paleolatitudes are reasonably well supported for the South China, Gaskiers, Smalfjord, and Moelv units. Among the three remaining units, the Rapitan Group can be assigned a near-equatorial paleolatitude indirectly through use of the Galeros and Franklin-Natkusiak paleomagnetic results, as long as the Rapitan age lies within 750-720 Ma as generally expected. The Moonlight Valley Formation in northern Australia may be assigned a tropical paleolatitude according to high-quality paleomagnetic results from compellingly correlated Marinoan strata in southern Australia. Those strata, including the famous Elatina Formation, have yielded a robust paleomagnetic signature that is commonly interpreted to imply frigid climate (manifest in part by frost-wedge polygons) at near-equatorial latitudes. Concerns that the Neoproterozoic geomagnetic field was either nonaxial or nondipolar are valid in principle

  19. Temporal Trends in Syngenetic Lipid Biomarker Signals from Proterozoic Sedimentary Organic Matter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Love, G. D.; Li, C.; Summons, R. E.

    2008-12-01

    The development of continuous-flow catalytic hydropyrolysis (HyPy) for reproducible recovery of biomarker lipid skeletons covalently-bound within kerogen has proved to be an important analytical breakthrough for ancient lipid biomarker research. The parallel analyses of free (solvent-extractable) and kerogen-bound biomarkers affords more confidence that we have correctly identified syngenetic compounds. Combining HyPy with detailed biomarker product analyzes using metastable reaction monitoring-gas chromatography mass spectrometry (MRM-GC-MS) allows detection of a large suite of biomarker compounds which are usually too low in abundance to be analyzed in detail using conventional GC-MS. Here we compare free and bound lipid biomarker records generated from Paleoproterozoic (ca. 1.7 Ga) to Late Ediacaran age (ca. 542 Ma) strata from marine basins from North and South China, Australia and Oman. Fundamental changes in eukaryotic community structure are evident after the Sturtian glaciation (ca. 713 Ma) from distinctive sterane distributions. In particular, radiations in basal animals (sponges) and chlorophyte microalgae are first apparent in Huqf sedimentary rocks from South Oman Salt Basin. Marine microbial communities were not globally homogenous in contemporaneous Proterozoic settings from comparison of biomarker profiles and this could reflect differences in ocean chemistry, affecting nutrient supply, from basin to basin.

  20. Implications for ancient terrestrial conditions from widespread Middle Proterozoic saprolite, Northwest Territories, Canada

    SciTech Connect

    Chiarenzelli, J.R.; Donaldson, J.A.

    1985-01-01

    Beneath the undeformed and unmetamorphosed fluvial sedimentary rocks of Thelon Basin, a saprolitic paleoweathering profile 1.8 billion years old is developed in Aphebian and Archean basement rocks. The saprolite is up to 50m thick and has a laterally continuous, vertical color zonation from red downwards to green. The thickness of the profile, upward geochemical trends, and the kaolinite-hematite assemblage in the uppermost hematite zone are suggestive of intense chemical weathering. Potential modern analogs include tropical or lateritic weathering profiles. Compared to these, the Proterozoic saprolites have a different profile zonation and mineralogy, similar but less developed geochemical trends, and lack overlying soil horizons. These differences can be explained by the downward superpositioning of geochemical zones during erosional truncation, and burial diagenesis. The Thelon Basin saprolites, represent a period of intense chemical weathering which played a key role in the planation of the NW Canadian Shield. Similar extensive planation surfaces are known from the Tertiary rock record of Australia, and may suggest a parallelism of major paleoclimatic, paleogeographic, and tectonic factors. The strong influence of the sapprolite on subsequent sedimentation in the Thelon Basin is shown in the paired chemical maturity/textural immaturity of arenites in the overlying Thelon Formation.

  1. Genetic and Fossil Evidence for the Origin of Modern Humans.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stringer, C. B.; Andrews, P.

    1988-01-01

    Discusses how genetic data on present human population relationships and data from the Pleistocene fossil hominid record are being used to compare two contrasting models for the origin of modern humans. (TW)

  2. Some key issues in reconstructions of Proterozoic supercontinents

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, Guochun; Sun, Min; Wilde, Simon A.; Li, Sanzhong; Zhang, Jian

    2006-10-01

    Supercontinents containing most of the earth's continental crust are considered to have existed at least twice in Proterozoic time. The younger one, Rodinia, formed at ˜1.0 Ga by accretion and collision of fragments produced by breakup of the older supercontinent, Columbia, which was assembled by global-scale 2.0-1.8 Ga collisional events. Little consensus has been reached regarding configurations of these supercontinents because of some unresolved issues concerning continental fits. One of these issues concerns how Siberia was related to Laurentia. Previous reconstructions that consider the Aldan Shield of Siberia as a continuation of the Wyoming Province of Laurentia have been largely abandoned in favor of models connecting Siberia to northern Laurentia, but it remains controversial which part of Siberia is contiguous with northern Laurentia. Also at issue is the western Laurentia-Australia-East Antarctica connection. Most Rodinia reconstructions place Australia, together with East Antarctica, adjacent to either western Canada (the SWEAT hypothesis) or the western United States (the AUSWUS hypothesis). However, recent studies combining paleomagnetic and isotopic age data have called into question the validity of SWEAT, AUSWUS and other variants. Another issue is the position of North China in Rodinia/Columbia. Limited paleomagnetic data seem to be consistent with the Paleo-Mesoproterozoic North China-Siberia/Baltica connection, whereas geological data support the recently proposed Archean to Mesoproterozoic North China-India connection. Controversial issues have also been raised about the timing and history of the amalgamation and fragmentation of South America and West Africa. Both geological and paleomagnetic data suggest that South America (São Francisco and Amazonia Cratons) and West Africa (Congo and West African Cratons) coalesced into a single landmass along the 2.1-2.0 Ga Transamazonian/Eburnean orogens. However, whether they were divorced and then re

  3. Microfossils' diversity from the Proterozoic Taoudeni Basin, Mauritania

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beghin, Jérémie; Houzay, Jean-Pierre; Blanpied, Christian; Javaux, Emmanuelle

    2014-05-01

    Prokaryotes and microscopic eukaryotes are known to have appeared well before the Cambrian's adaptative radiation which flourished perceptibly as a generalized macroscopic world. What do we know about the trigger events which stimulated eukaryotic diversification during the Proterozoic? Biological innovations or environmental changes, and indeed probably both (Knoll et al., 2006), played a fundamental role controlling this important step of life's evolution on Earth. Javaux (2011), proposed a diversification pattern of early eukaryotes divided into three steps and focusing on different taxonomic levels, from stem group to within crown group, of the domain Eukarya. Here, we present a new, exquisitely preserved and morphologically diverse assemblage of organic-walled microfossils from the 1.1 Ga El Mreiti Group of the Taoudeni Basin (Mauritania). The assemblage includes beautifully preserved microbial mats comprising pyritized filaments, prokaryotic filamentous sheaths and filaments, microfossils of uncertain biological affinity including smooth isolated and colonial sphaeromorphs (eukaryotes and/or prokaryotes), diverse protists (ornamented and process-bearing acritarchs), as well multicellular microfossils interpreted in the literature as possible xanthophyte algae. Several taxa are reported for the first time in Africa, but are known worldwide. This study improves microfossil diversity previously reported by Amard (1986) and shows purported xanthophyte algae contrary to a previous biomarker study suggesting the absence of eukaryotic algae, other than acritarchs, in the basin (Blumenberg et al., 2012). This new microfossil assemblage and others provide, all together, evidences of early and worldwide diversification of eukaryotes. Thereby, those first qualitative results also provide a basis for further and larger quantitative studies on the Taoudeni Basin. To better understand the palaeobiology (stem or crown group, aerobic or anaerobic metabolism) and

  4. Fossil evidence of the zygomycetous fungi.

    PubMed

    Krings, M; Taylor, T N; Dotzler, N

    2013-06-01

    Molecular clock data indicate that the first zygomycetous fungi occurred on Earth during the Precambrian, however, fossil evidence of these organisms has been slow to accumulate. In this paper, the fossil record of the zygomycetous fungi is compiled, with a focus on structurally preserved Carboniferous and Triassic fossils interpreted as zygosporangium-gametangia complexes and resembling those of modern Endogonales. Enigmatic microfossils from the Precambrian to Cenozoic that have variously been interpreted as, or compared to, zygomycetous fungi are also discussed. Among these, the spherical structures collectively termed 'sporocarps' are especially interesting because of their complex investments and abundance in certain Carboniferous and Triassic rocks. Circumstantial evidence suggests that at least some 'sporocarp' types represent mantled zygosporangia. Zygomycetous fungi probably were an important element in terrestrial paleoecosystems at least by the Carboniferous. PMID:24027344

  5. Anoxygenic photosynthesis modulated Proterozoic oxygen and sustained Earth's middle age.

    PubMed

    Johnston, D T; Wolfe-Simon, F; Pearson, A; Knoll, A H

    2009-10-01

    Molecular oxygen (O(2)) began to accumulate in the atmosphere and surface ocean ca. 2,400 million years ago (Ma), but the persistent oxygenation of water masses throughout the oceans developed much later, perhaps beginning as recently as 580-550 Ma. For much of the intervening interval, moderately oxic surface waters lay above an oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) that tended toward euxinia (anoxic and sulfidic). Here we illustrate how contributions to primary production by anoxygenic photoautotrophs (including physiologically versatile cyanobacteria) influenced biogeochemical cycling during Earth's middle age, helping to perpetuate our planet's intermediate redox state by tempering O(2) production. Specifically, the ability to generate organic matter (OM) using sulfide as an electron donor enabled a positive biogeochemical feedback that sustained euxinia in the OMZ. On a geologic time scale, pyrite precipitation and burial governed a second feedback that moderated sulfide availability and water column oxygenation. Thus, we argue that the proportional contribution of anoxygenic photosynthesis to overall primary production would have influenced oceanic redox and the Proterozoic O(2) budget. Later Neoproterozoic collapse of widespread euxinia and a concomitant return to ferruginous (anoxic and Fe(2+) rich) subsurface waters set in motion Earth's transition from its prokaryote-dominated middle age, removing a physiological barrier to eukaryotic diversification (sulfide) and establishing, for the first time in Earth's history, complete dominance of oxygenic photosynthesis in the oceans. This paved the way for the further oxygenation of the oceans and atmosphere and, ultimately, the evolution of complex multicellular organisms.

  6. Anoxygenic photosynthesis modulated Proterozoic oxygen and sustained Earth's middle age

    PubMed Central

    Johnston, D. T.; Wolfe-Simon, F.; Pearson, A.; Knoll, A. H.

    2009-01-01

    Molecular oxygen (O2) began to accumulate in the atmosphere and surface ocean ca. 2,400 million years ago (Ma), but the persistent oxygenation of water masses throughout the oceans developed much later, perhaps beginning as recently as 580–550 Ma. For much of the intervening interval, moderately oxic surface waters lay above an oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) that tended toward euxinia (anoxic and sulfidic). Here we illustrate how contributions to primary production by anoxygenic photoautotrophs (including physiologically versatile cyanobacteria) influenced biogeochemical cycling during Earth's middle age, helping to perpetuate our planet's intermediate redox state by tempering O2 production. Specifically, the ability to generate organic matter (OM) using sulfide as an electron donor enabled a positive biogeochemical feedback that sustained euxinia in the OMZ. On a geologic time scale, pyrite precipitation and burial governed a second feedback that moderated sulfide availability and water column oxygenation. Thus, we argue that the proportional contribution of anoxygenic photosynthesis to overall primary production would have influenced oceanic redox and the Proterozoic O2 budget. Later Neoproterozoic collapse of widespread euxinia and a concomitant return to ferruginous (anoxic and Fe2+ rich) subsurface waters set in motion Earth's transition from its prokaryote-dominated middle age, removing a physiological barrier to eukaryotic diversification (sulfide) and establishing, for the first time in Earth's history, complete dominance of oxygenic photosynthesis in the oceans. This paved the way for the further oxygenation of the oceans and atmosphere and, ultimately, the evolution of complex multicellular organisms. PMID:19805080

  7. Proterozoic to mesozoic mobile-belt geology, Pensacola Mountains, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmidt, D. L.

    The Pensacola Mountains consist of four unconformable sequences of: (1) graywacke (oldest), (2) platform, (3) molasses, and (4) continental (youngest) deposits. The first sequence of Middle Proterozoic graywacke deposits (Patuxent Formation) consists of turbidite quartzbearing sandstone and slate and volcanic rocks. The second sequence consist of extensive platform deposits of Lower Cambrian archaeocyathidbearing limestone and Middle Cambrian trilobitebearing limestone (Nelson Limestone) that are overlain by shale (Wiens Formation), and silicic volcanic rocks (Gambacorta Formation) including rhyolitic ignimbrite of caldera origin. The third sequence, The pre-Devonian Neptune Group consists of of basal orogenic conglomerate and more than 1,500 m of quartz-sandstone molasse that resulted from the erosion of the early Paleozoic mountains of the Ross orogeny. The fourth sequence of continental deposits of the Beacon Supergroup consists of Devonian quartz sanstone (Dover Sandstone), Permian glacial tillite (Gale Mudstone), and Permian siltstone and shale (Pecora Formation) containing glossopterid-bearing coal beds. During Early and Middle Jurassic time, and Transantarctic continental rift extensionally split the East Antarctic craton from West Antarctica as Gondwanaland began to break up. The continental rifting was shortly followed, during Late Jurassic time, by more vigorous extension resulting from major transform faulting.

  8. Dental development in living and fossil orangutans.

    PubMed

    Smith, Tanya M

    2016-05-01

    Numerous studies have investigated molar development in extant and fossil hominoids, yet relatively little is known about orangutans, the only great ape with an extensive fossil record. This study characterizes aspects of dental development, including cuspal enamel daily secretion rate, long-period line periodicities, cusp-specific molar crown formation times and extension rates, and initiation and completion ages in living and fossil orangutan postcanine teeth. Daily secretion rate and periodicities in living orangutans are similar to previous reports, while crown formation times often exceed published values, although direct comparisons are limited. One wild Bornean individual died at 4.5 years of age with fully erupted first molars (M1s), while a captive individual and a wild Sumatran individual likely erupted their M1s around five or six years of age. These data underscore the need for additional samples of orangutans of known sex, species, and developmental environment to explore potential sources of variation in molar emergence and their relationship to life history variables. Fossil orangutans possess larger crowns than living orangutans, show similarities in periodicities, and have faster daily secretion rate, longer crown formation times, and slower extension rates. Molar crown formation times exceed reported values for other fossil apes, including Gigantopithecus blacki. When compared to African apes, both living and fossil orangutans show greater cuspal enamel thickness values and periodicities, resulting in longer crown formation times and slower extension rates. Several of these variables are similar to modern humans, representing examples of convergent evolution. Molar crown formation does not appear to be equivalent among extant great apes or consistent within living and fossil members of Pongo or Homo. PMID:27178461

  9. The controversial "Cambrian" fossils of the Vindhyan are real but more than a billion years older.

    PubMed

    Bengtson, Stefan; Belivanova, Veneta; Rasmussen, Birger; Whitehouse, Martin

    2009-05-12

    The age of the Vindhyan sedimentary basin in central India is controversial, because geochronology indicating early Proterozoic ages clashes with reports of Cambrian fossils. We present here an integrated paleontologic-geochronologic investigation to resolve this conundrum. New sampling of Lower Vindhyan phosphoritic stromatolitic dolomites from the northern flank of the Vindhyans confirms the presence of fossils most closely resembling those found elsewhere in Cambrian deposits: annulated tubes, embryo-like globules with polygonal surface pattern, and filamentous and coccoidal microbial fabrics similar to Girvanella and Renalcis. None of the fossils, however, can be ascribed to uniquely Cambrian or Ediacaran taxa. Indeed, the embryo-like globules are not interpreted as fossils at all but as former gas bubbles trapped in mucus-rich cyanobacterial mats. Direct dating of the same fossiliferous phosphorite yielded a Pb-Pb isochron of 1,650 +/- 89 (2sigma) million years ago, confirming the Paleoproterozoic age of the fossils. New U-Pb geochronology of zircons from tuffaceous mudrocks in the Lower Vindhyan Porcellanite Formation on the southern flank of the Vindhyans give comparable ages. The Vindhyan phosphorites provide a window of 3-dimensionally preserved Paleoproterozoic fossils resembling filamentous and coccoidal cyanobacteria and filamentous eukaryotic algae, as well as problematic forms. Like Neoproterozoic phosphorites a billion years later, the Vindhyan deposits offer important new insights into the nature and diversity of life, and in particular, the early evolution of multicellular eukaryotes.

  10. Macroevolutionary developmental biology: Embryos, fossils, and phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Organ, Chris L; Cooper, Lisa Noelle; Hieronymus, Tobin L

    2015-10-01

    The field of evolutionary developmental biology is broadly focused on identifying the genetic and developmental mechanisms underlying morphological diversity. Connecting the genotype with the phenotype means that evo-devo research often considers a wide range of evidence, from genetics and morphology to fossils. In this commentary, we provide an overview and framework for integrating fossil ontogenetic data with developmental data using phylogenetic comparative methods to test macroevolutionary hypotheses. We survey the vertebrate fossil record of preserved embryos and discuss how phylogenetic comparative methods can integrate data from developmental genetics and paleontology. Fossil embryos provide limited, yet critical, developmental data from deep time. They help constrain when developmental innovations first appeared during the history of life and also reveal the order in which related morphologies evolved. Phylogenetic comparative methods provide a powerful statistical approach that allows evo-devo researchers to infer the presence of nonpreserved developmental traits in fossil species and to detect discordant evolutionary patterns and processes across levels of biological organization.

  11. Macroevolutionary developmental biology: Embryos, fossils, and phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Organ, Chris L; Cooper, Lisa Noelle; Hieronymus, Tobin L

    2015-10-01

    The field of evolutionary developmental biology is broadly focused on identifying the genetic and developmental mechanisms underlying morphological diversity. Connecting the genotype with the phenotype means that evo-devo research often considers a wide range of evidence, from genetics and morphology to fossils. In this commentary, we provide an overview and framework for integrating fossil ontogenetic data with developmental data using phylogenetic comparative methods to test macroevolutionary hypotheses. We survey the vertebrate fossil record of preserved embryos and discuss how phylogenetic comparative methods can integrate data from developmental genetics and paleontology. Fossil embryos provide limited, yet critical, developmental data from deep time. They help constrain when developmental innovations first appeared during the history of life and also reveal the order in which related morphologies evolved. Phylogenetic comparative methods provide a powerful statistical approach that allows evo-devo researchers to infer the presence of nonpreserved developmental traits in fossil species and to detect discordant evolutionary patterns and processes across levels of biological organization. PMID:26250386

  12. Fossil-Fired Boilers

    1993-09-23

    Boiler Performance Model (BPM 3.0S) is a set of computer programs developed to analyze the performance of fossil-fired utility boilers. The programs can model a wide variety of boiler designs, and can model coal, oil, or natural gas firing. The programs are intended for use by engineers performing analyses of alternative fuels, alternative operating modes, or boiler modifications.

  13. Advanced fossil energy utilization

    SciTech Connect

    Shekhawat, D.; Berry, D.; Spivey, J.; Pennline, H.; Granite, E.

    2010-01-01

    This special issue of Fuel is a selection of papers presented at the symposium ‘Advanced Fossil Energy Utilization’ co-sponsored by the Fuels and Petrochemicals Division and Research and New Technology Committee in the 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Spring National Meeting Tampa, FL, on April 26–30, 2009.

  14. Continental accretion: contrasting Mesozoic and Early Proterozoic tectonic regimes in North America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Condie, Kent C.; Chomiak, Beverly

    1996-11-01

    Juvenile continental crust was accreted to southern and western North America during the Early Proterozoic and Mesozoic, respectively. Graywacke, granite, granodiorite, and basalt comprise most of the accreted Early Proterozoic crust, whereas graywacke, andesite, basalt, and granodiorite comprise most of the Mesozoic crust. In addition, carbonates, ultramafics, pelagic sediments, and tonalite/diorite are minor but important components in the juvenile Mesozoic crust, whereas rhyolites are important in the Early Proterozoic crust. Mesozoic supracrustal rocks vary significantly in chemical composition, while Early Proterozoic supracrustals have a limited compositional range and exhibit a linear relation between many element concentrations suggesting a genetic linkage between accreted terranes. Although SiO 2, Al 2O 3, FeO, and incompatible elements are more enriched in Early Proterozoic than in Mesozoic supracrustal rocks, negative Eu anomalies are typical of rocks of both ages. Early Proterozoic granitoids are enriched in LILE (large ion lithophile elements) compared to Mesozoic granitoids, and granitoids of both ages of are enriched in LILE and have larger Eu anomalies than associated supracrustal rocks. Accreted Mesozoic upper crust is similar to andesite in chemical composition, and the bulk crust is similar to basaltic andesite. In contrast, accreted Early Proterozoic upper crust and bulk crust are similar to granodiorite and andesite, respectively. Incompatible elements are depleted in the Mesozoic compared to the Early Proterozoic crust, but both crustal types have negative NbTa anomalies. Depending on the composition assumed for the lower crust, both ages of crust have either very small or negligible Eu anomalies. Lifespans of the Early Proterozoic terranes (time interval between oldest rocks in a terrane and its collision with North America) are 20-80 My, whereas lifespans of Mesozoic terranes are 50-500 My, with most falling between 50 and 200 My. Within

  15. Fossil Crustaceans as Parasites and Hosts.

    PubMed

    Klompmaker, Adiël A; Boxshall, Geoff A

    2015-01-01

    Numerous crustacean lineages have independently moved into parasitism as a mode of life. In modern marine ecosystems, parasitic crustaceans use representatives from many metazoan phyla as hosts. Crustaceans also serve as hosts to a rich diversity of parasites, including other crustaceans. Here, we show that the fossil record of such parasitic interactions is sparse, with only 11 examples, one dating back to the Cambrian. This may be due to the limited preservation potential and small size of parasites, as well as to problems with ascribing traces to parasitism with certainty, and to a lack of targeted research. Although the confirmed stratigraphic ranges are limited for nearly every example, evidence of parasitism related to crustaceans has become increasingly more complete for isopod-induced swellings in decapods so that quantitative analyses can be carried out. Little attention has yet been paid to the origin of parasitism in deep time, but insight can be generated by integrating data on fossils with molecular studies on modern parasites. In addition, there are other traces left by parasites that could fossilize, but have not yet been recognized in the fossil record.

  16. Sustainability of Fossil Fuels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lackner, K. S.

    2002-05-01

    For a sustainable world economy, energy is a bottleneck. Energy is at the basis of a modern, technological society, but unlike materials it cannot be recycled. Energy or more precisely "negentropy" (the opposite of entropy) is always consumed. Thus, one either accepts the use of large but finite resources or must stay within the limits imposed by dilute but self-renewing resources like sunlight. The challenge of sustainable energy is exacerbated by likely growth in world energy demand due to increased population and increased wealth. Most of the world still has to undergo the transition to a wealthy, stable society with the near zero population growth that characterizes a modern industrial society. This represents a huge unmet demand. If ten billion people were to consume energy like North Americans do today, world energy demand would be ten times higher. In addition, technological advances while often improving energy efficiency tend to raise energy demand by offering more opportunity for consumption. Energy consumption still increases at close to the 2.3% per year that would lead to a tenfold increase over the course of the next century. Meeting future energy demands while phasing out fossil fuels appears extremely difficult. Instead, the world needs sustainable or nearly sustainable fossil fuels. I propose the following definition of sustainable under which fossil fuels would well qualify: The use of a technology or resource is sustainable if the intended and unintended consequences will not force its abandonment within a reasonable planning horizon. Of course sustainable technologies must not be limited by resource depletion but this is only one of many concerns. Environmental impacts, excessive land use, and other constraints can equally limit the use of a technology and thus render it unsustainable. In the foreseeable future, fossil fuels are not limited by resource depletion. However, environmental concerns based on climate change and other environmental

  17. Reconstructing Carotenoid-Based and Structural Coloration in Fossil Skin.

    PubMed

    McNamara, Maria E; Orr, Patrick J; Kearns, Stuart L; Alcalá, Luis; Anadón, Pere; Peñalver, Enrique

    2016-04-25

    Evidence of original coloration in fossils provides insights into the visual communication strategies used by ancient animals and the functional evolution of coloration over time [1-7]. Hitherto, all reconstructions of the colors of reptile integument and the plumage of fossil birds and feathered dinosaurs have been of melanin-based coloration [1-6]. Extant animals also use other mechanisms for producing color [8], but these have not been identified in fossils. Here we report the first examples of carotenoid-based coloration in the fossil record, and of structural coloration in fossil integument. The fossil skin, from a 10 million-year-old colubrid snake from the Late Miocene Libros Lagerstätte (Teruel, Spain) [9, 10], preserves dermal pigment cells (chromatophores)-xanthophores, iridophores, and melanophores-in calcium phosphate. Comparison with chromatophore abundance and position in extant reptiles [11-15] indicates that the fossil snake was pale-colored in ventral regions; dorsal and lateral regions were green with brown-black and yellow-green transverse blotches. Such coloration most likely functioned in substrate matching and intraspecific signaling. Skin replicated in authigenic minerals is not uncommon in exceptionally preserved fossils [16, 17], and dermal pigment cells generate coloration in numerous reptile, amphibian, and fish taxa today [18]. Our discovery thus represents a new means by which to reconstruct the original coloration of exceptionally preserved fossil vertebrates. PMID:27040775

  18. Reconstructing Carotenoid-Based and Structural Coloration in Fossil Skin.

    PubMed

    McNamara, Maria E; Orr, Patrick J; Kearns, Stuart L; Alcalá, Luis; Anadón, Pere; Peñalver, Enrique

    2016-04-25

    Evidence of original coloration in fossils provides insights into the visual communication strategies used by ancient animals and the functional evolution of coloration over time [1-7]. Hitherto, all reconstructions of the colors of reptile integument and the plumage of fossil birds and feathered dinosaurs have been of melanin-based coloration [1-6]. Extant animals also use other mechanisms for producing color [8], but these have not been identified in fossils. Here we report the first examples of carotenoid-based coloration in the fossil record, and of structural coloration in fossil integument. The fossil skin, from a 10 million-year-old colubrid snake from the Late Miocene Libros Lagerstätte (Teruel, Spain) [9, 10], preserves dermal pigment cells (chromatophores)-xanthophores, iridophores, and melanophores-in calcium phosphate. Comparison with chromatophore abundance and position in extant reptiles [11-15] indicates that the fossil snake was pale-colored in ventral regions; dorsal and lateral regions were green with brown-black and yellow-green transverse blotches. Such coloration most likely functioned in substrate matching and intraspecific signaling. Skin replicated in authigenic minerals is not uncommon in exceptionally preserved fossils [16, 17], and dermal pigment cells generate coloration in numerous reptile, amphibian, and fish taxa today [18]. Our discovery thus represents a new means by which to reconstruct the original coloration of exceptionally preserved fossil vertebrates.

  19. A Modern Analogue for Proterozoic Inverse Carbon Isotope Signatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Close, H. G.; Diefendorf, A. F.; Freeman, K. H.; Pearson, A.

    2008-12-01

    The carbon isotope distribution preserved in sedimentary lipids changes near the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian boundary. In older samples, n-alkyl lipids contain more 13C than both isoprenoid lipids and kerogen [1]. In younger samples, the opposite prevails. Although extreme heterotrophy has been invoked as a mechanism to explain the enrichment in 13C [2], here we suggest another explanation. The switch may reflect a fundamental transition from an oligotrophic ocean dominated by prokaryotic biomass, to an ocean in which carbon fixation is more intensive and burial is dominated by eukaryotic biomass. An analogue for Proterozoic ordering is found in the modern, oligotrophic Pacific Ocean, where n-alkyl lipids of picoplankton (0.2-0.5 μm particulate matter) contain excess 13C relative to the same lipids found in larger size classes (> 0.5 μm). Picoplanktonic lipids are heavier isotopically (-18 ‰) than both the sterols of eukaryotes (-23 ‰ to -26 ‰) and the total organic matter (-20 ‰; TOM). The 0.2-0.5 μm size class also has a distinct chain-length abundance profile. Although large particles must be the vehicle for total carbon export, paradoxically the lipid component of export production appears to be dominated by the 0.2-0.5 μm source. The picoplanktonic chain lengths and isotopic composition dominate lipids of TOM at 670 meters. When the ratio of prokaryotic to eukaryotic production is high, as in the modern central Pacific Ocean, it appears that exported material has an inverse carbon isotope signature similar to that preserved in Precambrian samples. [1] Logan, G. A. et al., Nature 376:53-56 (1995). [2] Rothman, D. H. et al., PNAS 100:8124-8129 (2003).

  20. Deformation styles in the Proterozoic Pinal schist, Pinal Mountains, Arizona

    SciTech Connect

    Keep, M.; Hansen, V. . Geology Dept.)

    1993-02-01

    A > 3 km thick, ductile, east-trending shear zone in the Pinal Peak map area, near Globe, Arizona, reveals contact metamorphism of the Pinal schist, through intrusion of the Proterozoic Madera granodiorite, and synchronous deformation of both units. The exposed shear zone comprises approximately 40 anastomosing shear zones, ranging in thickness from 10 cm to 40 cm, which cut both the Pinal schist and the Madera granodiorite. The shear zones have sharp boundaries that separate sheared material from massive zones lacking strong foliation, elongation lineation, and ductile deformation fabrics. The shear zones are characterized by well-developed, generally N- and NW- trending elongation lineation, and hand-sample scale S-C fabrics. Microstructures in Pinal schist and Madera granodiorite include S-C fabrics, mica fish', porphyroblast tails, and grain-shape- and lattice-preferred orientation of minerals, most of which indicate top-to-the-south displacement, consistent with field interpretations. Locally microstructures indicate top-to-the-north shear. Quartz c-axis fabrics were measured for 14 samples of Pinal schist and Madera granodiorite. Fabric diagrams show symmetric and symmetric double girdles, and activation of high temperature slip systems is evidenced by clustering of maxima in the center of the stereonet, parallel to the y-axis, in some plots. Symmetric fabrics indicate coaxial flattening. Asymmetric fabrics indicate top-to-the-north displacement, opposite to the shear sense derived from the majority of field and microstructural measurements. This may be indicative of a late-phase of backsliding on the shear zone, which could reset the quartz lattice fabrics. The high temperature slip systems of the quartz may be evidence for intrusion of the Madera granodiorite being early syn-tectonic in nature.

  1. Assembling and disassembling california: A zircon and monazite geochronologic framework for proterozoic crustal evolution in southern California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barth, A.P.; Wooden, J.L.; Coleman, D.S.; Vogel, M.B.

    2009-01-01

    The Mojave province in southern California preserves a comparatively complete record of assembly, postorogenic sedimentation, and rifting along the southwestern North American continental margin. The oldest exposed rocks are metasedimentary gneisses and amphibolite, enclosing intrusive suites that range from tonalite and quartz mon-zodiorite to granite with minor trondhjemite. Discrete magmatic episodes occurred at approximately 1790-1730 and 1690-1640 Ma. Evidence from detrital and premagmatic zircons indicates that recycling of 1900-1790 Ma Paleopro-terozoic crust formed the unique isotopic character of the Mojave province. Peak metamorphic conditions in the Mojave province reached middle amphibolite to granulite facies; metamorphism occurred locally from 1795 to 1640 Ma, with widespread evidence for metamorphism at 1711-1689 and 1670-1650 Ma. Structures record early, tight to isoclinal folding and penetrative west-vergent shear during the final metamorphic event in the west Mojave province. Proterozoic basement rocks are overlain by siliciclastic-carbonate sequences of Mesoproterozoic, Neoproterozoic, and Cambrian age, recording environmental change over the course of the transition from stable Mojave crust to the rifted Cordilleran margin. Neoproterozoic quartzites have diverse zircon populations inconsistent with a southwest North American source, which we infer were derived from the western conjugate rift pair within Rodinia, before establishment of the miogeocline. Neoproterozoic-Cambrian miogeoclinal clastic rocks record an end to rifting and establishment of the Cordilleran miogeocline in southern California by latest Neoproterozoic to Early Cambrian time. ?? 2009 by The University of Chicago.

  2. Synthesizing and databasing fossil calibrations: divergence dating and beyond.

    PubMed

    Ksepka, Daniel T; Benton, Michael J; Carrano, Matthew T; Gandolfo, Maria A; Head, Jason J; Hermsen, Elizabeth J; Joyce, Walter G; Lamm, Kristin S; Patané, José S L; Phillips, Matthew J; Polly, P David; Van Tuinen, Marcel; Ware, Jessica L; Warnock, Rachel C M; Parham, James F

    2011-12-23

    Divergence dating studies, which combine temporal data from the fossil record with branch length data from molecular phylogenetic trees, represent a rapidly expanding approach to understanding the history of life. National Evolutionary Synthesis Center hosted the first Fossil Calibrations Working Group (3-6 March, 2011, Durham, NC, USA), bringing together palaeontologists, molecular evolutionists and bioinformatics experts to present perspectives from disciplines that generate, model and use fossil calibration data. Presentations and discussions focused on channels for interdisciplinary collaboration, best practices for justifying, reporting and using fossil calibrations and roadblocks to synthesis of palaeontological and molecular data. Bioinformatics solutions were proposed, with the primary objective being a new database for vetted fossil calibrations with linkages to existing resources, targeted for a 2012 launch.

  3. Middle to Late Proterozoic tectonic history of Grenville province at Van Horn, Trans-Pecos Texas

    SciTech Connect

    Soegaard, K.; Nielsen, K.C.; Manton, W.I. . Programs in Geosciences)

    1993-02-01

    Middle to Late Proterozoic volcanic and sedimentary sequences near Van Horn in west Texas record the pre- and syn-tectonic history of deformation from shallow crustal levels. Pre-deformational sequences include the Carrizo Mountain Group, the Allamoore and Tumbledown formations. The Carrizo Mountain Group is thrust northward, along the Streeruwitz fault, over a para-autochthonous sequence of unmetamorphosed carbonate and polymodal volcanic rocks of Allamoore and Tumbledown formations. Carbonates in the Allamoore Formation were deposited in shallow water and contain diverse stromatolites, desiccation cracks, and halite pseudomorphs. The Tumbledown formation unconformably overlies the Allamoore carbonate succession and consists of volcanic sandstones, agglomerates, pillow breccias, and mafic volcanic flows. Deformation of the pre-orogenic sequences led to deposition of more than 2,500 meters of immature alluvial fan conglomerates and eolian sandstones of the Hazel Formation. Based on clast composition of boulder conglomerates in the Hazel Formation, the principal source rocks were the Allamoore and Tumbledown formations and an unknown rhyolite terrain, with Carrizo Mountain Group lithologies notably absent. Alluvial megasequences in the alluvial fan conglomerates are aggradational and indicate at least two episodes of faulting accompanied Hazel sedimentation. A mismatch between source terrain and corresponding sediment composition, in addition to aggradation of alluvial fan megasequences, along the southern fault-bounded basin margin supports a transpressive regime for this orogenic belt in favor of a purely convergent margin. The Hazel orogenic sequence post-dated a 1,126--1,070 Ma old regional igneous event, whereas the Grenville deformation in the Llano uplift of central Texas pre-dated the igneous event.

  4. Proterozoic geochronologic and isotopic boundary in NW Arizona

    SciTech Connect

    Chamberlain, K.R.; Bowring, S.A. )

    1990-05-01

    U-Pb ages determined from zircon, sphene, and apatite in conjunction with Pb isotopic analyses of alkali feldspar establish a regional geochronological framework and constrain the location of a major north-trending Proterozoic crustal boundary in northwestern Arizona. Two regions west of the boundary (Hualapai Mountains and Lost Basin Range-Garnet Mountain) are characterized by complex U-Pb zircon systematics, evidence for inheritance of an older zircon component (1.8-2.3 Ga), and elevated {sup 207}Pb/{sup 204}Pb from feldspars compared to the east. Although the discordia patterns are complex, supracrustal rocks are interpreted to be ca. 1.73 Ga and are intruded by plutonic rocks ca. 1.70 Ga. Deformation is younger than ca. 1.70 Ga foliated granites and older than the 1,682 {plus minus} 4 Ma Garnet Mt. monzogranite. The rocks in one area east of the boundary (Cottonwood Cliffs) are characterized by relatively simple U-Pb zircon systematics, no evidence for inheritance of any older component, and feldspar {sup 207}/{sup 204}Pb near model mantle values. Supracrustal rocks are older than 1.73 Ga, as they are intruded by a 1,730 {plus minus} 9 Ma foliated granodiorite. Timing of deformation is constrained by the late syn-kinematic Valentine granite dated at 1,713 {plus minus} 12 Ma. Mineral ages indicate that the rocks on either side of the boundary had different cooling histories and inferentially, different uplift histories. West of the boundary, the cooling history is inferred from minerals separated from an amphibolite: metamorphic zircon is 1,687 +13/{minus}8 Ma, sphene is 1,660 {plus minus} 5 Ma, hornblende has a {sup 40}Ar/{sup 39}Ar age of 1,552 {plus minus} 5 Ma, and apatite has a U-Pb age of 1,520 {plus minus} 45 Ma. East of the boundary an amphibolite has sphene with an age of 1,670 {plus minus} 11 Ma and apatite with an age of 1,630 {plus minus} 8 Ma.

  5. Fossilization Processes in Thermal Springs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farmer, Jack D.; Cady, Sherry; Desmarais, David J.; Chang, Sherwood (Technical Monitor)

    1995-01-01

    To create a comparative framework for the study of ancient examples, we have been carrying out parallel studies of the microbial biosedimentology, taphonomy and geochemistry of modem and sub-Recent thermal spring deposits. One goal of the research is the development of integrated litho- and taphofacies models for siliceous and travertline sinters. Thermal springs are regarded as important environments for the origin and early evolution of life on Earth, and we seek to utilize information from the fossil record to reconstruct the evolution of high temperature ecosystems. Microbial contributions to the fabric of thermal spring sinters occur when population growth rates keep pace with, or exceed rates of inorganic precipitation, allowing for the development of continuous biofilms or mats. In siliceous thermal springs, microorganisms are typically entombed while viable. Modes of preservation reflect the balance between rates of organic matter degradation, silica precipitation and secondary infilling. Subaerial sinters are initially quite porous and permeable and at temperatures higher than about 20 C, organic materials are usually degraded prior to secondary infilling of sinter frameworks. Thus, organically-preserved microfossils are rare and fossil information consists of characteristic biofabrics formed by the encrustation and underplating of microbial mat surfaces. This probably accounts for the typically low total organic carbon values observed in thermal spring deposits. In mid-temperature, (approx. 35 - 59 C) ponds and outflows, the surface morphology of tufted Phormidium mats is preserved through mat underplating by thin siliceous: crusts. Microbial taxes lead to clumping of ceils and/or preferred filament orientations that together define higher order composite fabrics in thermal spring stromatolites (e.g. network, coniform, and palisade). At lower temperatures (less than 35 C), Calothrix mats cover shallow terracette pools forming flat carpets or pustular

  6. Fossil diatoms and neogene paleolimnology

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Platt, Bradbury J.

    1988-01-01

    Diatoms have played an important role in the development of Neogene continental biostratigraphy and paleolimnology since the mid-19th Century. The history of progress in Quaternary diatom biostratigraphy has developed as a result of improved coring techniques that enable sampling sediments beneath existing lakes coupled with improved chronological control (including radiometric dating and varve enumeration), improved statistical treatment of fossil diatom assemblages (from qualitative description to influx calculations of diatom numbers or volumes), and improved ecological information about analogous living diatom associations. The last factor, diatom ecology, is the most critical in many ways, but progresses slowly. Fortunately, statistical comparison of modern diatom assemblages and insightful studies of the nutrient requirements of some common freshwater species are enabling diatom paleolimnologists to make more detailed interpretations of the Quaternary record than had been possible earlier, and progress in the field of diatom biology and ecology will continue to refine paleolimnological studies. The greater age and geologic setting of Tertiary diatomaceous deposits has prompted their study in the contexts of geologic history, biochronology and evolution. The distribution of diatoms of marine affinities in continental deposits has given geologists insights about tectonism and sea-level change, and the distribution of distinctive (extinct?) diatoms has found utilization both in making stratigraphic correlations between outcrops of diatomaceous deposits and in various types of biochronological studies that involve dating deposits in different areas. A continental diatom biochronologic scheme will rely upon evolution, such as the appearance of new genera within a family, in combination with regional environmental changes that are responsible for the wide distribution of distinctive diatom species. The increased use of the scanning electron microscope for the

  7. Atmospheric CO2 from fossil plant cuticles.

    PubMed

    Kerp, Hans

    2002-01-01

    Plants respond to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels by regulating the number of stomata in their leaves. In his reconstruction of a continuous, 300-million-year record of atmospheric CO2, Retallack bases his curve on stomatal counts of fossil plant cuticles taken from published micrographs. However, the preservation of cuticles from Permian times is generally too fragmentary for the stomatal index to be reliably determined, the micrographs used could have biased the results, and there are important errors in the supplementary data - all of which cast doubt on the Permian part of Retallack's record.

  8. From Fossil Parasitoids to Vectors: Insects as Parasites and Hosts.

    PubMed

    Nagler, Christina; Haug, Joachim T

    2015-01-01

    Within Metazoa, it has been proposed that as many as two-thirds of all species are parasitic. This propensity towards parasitism is also reflected within insects, where several lineages independently evolved a parasitic lifestyle. Parasitic behaviour ranges from parasitic habits in the strict sense, but also includes parasitoid, phoretic or kleptoparasitic behaviour. Numerous insects are also the host for other parasitic insects or metazoans. Insects can also serve as vectors for numerous metazoan, protistan, bacterial and viral diseases. The fossil record can report this behaviour with direct (parasite associated with its host) or indirect evidence (insect with parasitic larva, isolated parasitic insect, pathological changes of host). The high abundance of parasitism in the fossil record of insects can reveal important aspects of parasitic lifestyles in various evolutionary lineages. For a comprehensive view on fossil parasitic insects, we discuss here different aspects, including phylogenetic systematics, functional morphology and a direct comparison of fossil and extant species.

  9. Geochronologic and isotopic evidence for early Proterozoic crust in the eastern Arabian Shield

    SciTech Connect

    Stacey, J.S.; Hedge, C.E.

    1984-05-01

    The authors report zircon U-Pb, feldspar common Pb, whole-rock Sm-Nd, and Rb-Sr data from sample Z-103, a fine-grained granodiorite from the Jabal Khida region of the Saudi Arabian Shield (lat 21/sup 0/19'N; long 44/sup 0/50'W). The measurements yield conclusive evidence for continental crust of early Proterozoic age (approx.1630 Ma) at that locality. Furthermore, lead-isotope data indicate an even earlier, perhaps Archean, crustal history for the source of the lower Proterozoic rocks. 17 references, 4 figures, 1 table.

  10. Organic preservation of fossil musculature with ultracellular detail

    PubMed Central

    McNamara, Maria; Orr, Patrick J.; Kearns, Stuart L.; Alcalá, Luis; Anadón, Pere; Peñalver-Mollá, Enrique

    2010-01-01

    The very labile (decay-prone), non-biomineralized, tissues of organisms are rarely fossilized. Occurrences thereof are invaluable supplements to a body fossil record dominated by biomineralized tissues, which alone are extremely unrepresentative of diversity in modern and ancient ecosystems. Fossil examples of extremely labile tissues (e.g. muscle) that exhibit a high degree of morphological fidelity are almost invariably replicated by inorganic compounds such as calcium phosphate. There is no consensus as to whether such tissues can be preserved with similar morphological fidelity as organic remains, except when enclosed inside amber. Here, we report fossilized musculature from an approximately 18 Myr old salamander from lacustrine sediments of Ribesalbes, Spain. The muscle is preserved organically, in three dimensions, and with the highest fidelity of morphological preservation yet documented from the fossil record. Preserved ultrastructural details include myofilaments, endomysium, layering within the sarcolemma, and endomysial circulatory vessels infilled with blood. Slight differences between the fossil tissues and their counterparts in extant amphibians reflect limited degradation during fossilization. Our results provide unequivocal evidence that high-fidelity organic preservation of extremely labile tissues is not only feasible, but likely to be common. This is supported by the discovery of similarly preserved tissues in the Eocene Grube Messel biota. PMID:19828545

  11. Biodesulfurization of fossil fuels.

    PubMed

    Gray, Kevin A; Mrachko, Gregory T; Squires, Charles H

    2003-06-01

    Biotechnological techniques enabling the specific removal of sulfur from fossil fuels have been developed. In the past three years there have been important advances in the elucidation of the mechanisms of biodesulfurization; some of the most significant relate to the role of a flavin reductase, DszD, in the enzymology of desulfurization, and to the use of new tools that enable enzyme enhancement via DNA manipulation to influence both the rate and the substrate range of Dsz. Also, a clearer understanding of the unique desulfinase step in the pathway has begun to emerge.

  12. Cycles in fossil diversity

    SciTech Connect

    Rohde, Robert A.; Muller, Richard A.

    2004-10-20

    It is well-known that the diversity of life appears to fluctuate during the course the Phanerozoic, the eon during which hard shells and skeletons left abundant fossils (0-542 Ma). Using Sepkoski's compendium of the first and last stratigraphic appearances of 36380 marine genera, we report a strong 62 {+-} 3 Myr cycle, which is particularly strong in the shorter-lived genera. The five great extinctions enumerated by Raup and Sepkoski may be an aspect of this cycle. Because of the high statistical significance, we also consider contributing environmental factors and possible causes.

  13. Fossilized spermatozoa preserved in a 50-Myr-old annelid cocoon from Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Bomfleur, Benjamin; Mörs, Thomas; Ferraguti, Marco; Reguero, Marcelo A; McLoughlin, Stephen

    2015-07-01

    The origin and evolution of clitellate annelids--earthworms, leeches and their relatives--is poorly understood, partly because body fossils of these delicate organisms are exceedingly rare. The distinctive egg cases (cocoons) of Clitellata, however, are relatively common in the fossil record, although their potential for phylogenetic studies has remained largely unexplored. Here, we report the remarkable discovery of fossilized spermatozoa preserved within the secreted wall layers of a 50-Myr-old clitellate cocoon from Antarctica, representing the oldest fossil animal sperm yet known. Sperm characters are highly informative for the classification of extant Annelida. The Antarctic fossil spermatozoa have several features that point to affinities with the peculiar, leech-like 'crayfish worms' (Branchiobdellida). We anticipate that systematic surveys of cocoon fossils coupled with advances in non-destructive analytical methods may open a new window into the evolution of minute, soft-bodied life forms that are otherwise only rarely observed in the fossil record.

  14. Fossilized spermatozoa preserved in a 50-Myr-old annelid cocoon from Antarctica

    PubMed Central

    Bomfleur, Benjamin; Mörs, Thomas; Ferraguti, Marco; Reguero, Marcelo A.; McLoughlin, Stephen

    2015-01-01

    The origin and evolution of clitellate annelids—earthworms, leeches and their relatives—is poorly understood, partly because body fossils of these delicate organisms are exceedingly rare. The distinctive egg cases (cocoons) of Clitellata, however, are relatively common in the fossil record, although their potential for phylogenetic studies has remained largely unexplored. Here, we report the remarkable discovery of fossilized spermatozoa preserved within the secreted wall layers of a 50-Myr-old clitellate cocoon from Antarctica, representing the oldest fossil animal sperm yet known. Sperm characters are highly informative for the classification of extant Annelida. The Antarctic fossil spermatozoa have several features that point to affinities with the peculiar, leech-like ‘crayfish worms' (Branchiobdellida). We anticipate that systematic surveys of cocoon fossils coupled with advances in non-destructive analytical methods may open a new window into the evolution of minute, soft-bodied life forms that are otherwise only rarely observed in the fossil record. PMID:26179804

  15. Stable isotopic studies of mafic sills and proterozoic metasedimentary rocks located beneath the Duluth Complex, Minnesota

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Park, Young-Rok; Ripley, Edward M.; Severson, Mark; Hauck, Steven

    1999-03-01

    Thin (3-20 m), picritic to noritic sills are found in the Proterozoic metasedimentary footwall rocks of the Duluth Complex, Minnesota. The sills were emplaced prior to the major intrusions that comprise the Duluth Complex, and underwent contact metamorphism along with the country rocks. Oxygen, hydrogen, and sulfur isotopic compositions of the sills indicate a varied history of isotopic exchange between minerals, melts, and hydrothermal fluids in the high temperature environment below the major plutonic bodies of the Midcontinent Rift system. The pre-Duluth Complex sills exhibit a range in δ 18O values from 4.9‰ to 14.8‰, with values between 6‰ and 7‰ generally found in sill interiors. High δ 18O values near sill contacts with high 18O metasedimentary rocks of the pelitic Virginia Formation or Biwabik Iron Formation, coupled with a smooth sigmoidal isotopic profile centered at the contact, suggest that oxygen diffusion was an important exchange mechanism. The elevated δ 18O values near the center of the thickest sills are thought to reflect the emplacement of isotopically contaminated basaltic magma. Dehydration reactions in the pelitic rocks of the contact aureole liberated high 18O fluids that enhanced subsolidus diffusive exchange. Advective displacement of the diffusion profiles toward the sill interior is less than 40 cm, and suggests that layer parallel flow dominated in the dehydration of the contact aureole. Elevated, but uniform δ 18O values (9.7‰ to 10.5‰) in thinner sills suggests that oxygen diffusivity was increased relative to country rocks due to enhanced porosity, perhaps related to extensive development of microcracks. Although δD values of the pelitic country rocks record a history of dehydration, systematic variations of δD (-64‰ to -143‰) and H 2O (0.15 to 5.40 wt.%) content are not found in the sills. δ 18O values of coexisting plagioclase and pyroxene from the sills indicate a close approach to isotopic equilibrium, and

  16. Vent Complexes above Dolerite Sills in Phanerozoic LIPs: Implications for Proterozoic LIPs and IOCG Deposits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ernst, R. E.; Bleeker, W.; Svensen, H.; Planke, S.; Polozov, A. G.

    2009-05-01

    New insights into the origin of IOCG (iron oxide copper gold) deposits [e.g., 1, 2, 3] follow from recent studies of Phanerozoic Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs). Detailed seismic studies of the 62-55 Ma North Atlantic Igneous Province and complementary studies in the 183 Ma Karoo and 250 Ma Siberian LIPs reveal thousands of hydrothermal vent complexes (HVCs). Up to 5-10 km across at the paleosurface, these vents connect to underlying dolerite sills at paleodepths of up to 8 km [4, 5, 6, 7]. They originate from explosive release of gases generated when thick sills (>50 m) are emplaced into volatile-rich but low-permeability sedimentary strata. HVCs are phreatomagmatic in origin. Their architecture, economic potential for IOCG-type deposits, and effects on climate strongly depend on the type of host rocks (black shales at Karoo and evaporites at Siberian LIPs) and its fluid (brines) saturation at the time of emplacement. About 250 HVCs associated with the Siberian LIP are mineralized having magnetite in the matrix. Some are being mined for Fe (Korshunovskoe and Rudnogorskoe), but their economic potential for copper and gold mineralization is understudied. These observations from the Phanerozoic LIP record suggest that HVCs should also be an essential component of sill provinces associated with Proterozoic LIPs, with a potential for causing major climatic shifts and IOCG-type deposits, particularly if the host sediments include substantial evaporites. Two examples are discussed here. The 725 Ma Franklin LIP covers 1.1 Mkm2 in northern Canada [8]; in the Minto Inlier of Victoria Island, this event comprises volcanics, sills, and breccia pipes [9, 10]. The breccia pipes appear identical to HVCs and, furthermore, the presence of evaporites in the host sediments of the Shaler Supergroup suggests (based on the Siberian trap example) the potential for IOCG-type mineralization. Could 1.59 Ga sills, as exemplified by the exposed Western Channel Diabase sills on the eastern

  17. Arthropod colonization of land--linking molecules and fossils in oribatid mites (Acari, Oribatida).

    PubMed

    Schaefer, Ina; Norton, Roy A; Scheu, Stefan; Maraun, Mark

    2010-10-01

    Terrestrial fossils that document the early colonization of land are scarce for >100 my after the Cambrian explosion. This raises the question whether life on land did not exist or just did not fossilize. With a molecular dating technique, we analyzed the origin of terrestrial chelicerate microarthropods (Acari, Oribatida) which have a fossil record since the Middle Devonian that is exceptional among soil animals. Our results suggest that oribatid mites originated in the Precambrian (571+/-37 mya) and that the radiation of basal groups coincides with the gap in the terrestrial fossil record between the Cambrian explosion and the earliest fossilized records of continental ecosystems. Further, they suggest that the colonization of land started via the interstitial, approximately 150 my earlier than the oldest fossils of terrestrial ecosystems. Overall, the results imply that omnivorous and detritivorous arthropods formed a major component in early terrestrial food webs, thereby facilitating the invasion of terrestrial habitats by later colonizers of higher trophic levels.

  18. Arthropod colonization of land--linking molecules and fossils in oribatid mites (Acari, Oribatida).

    PubMed

    Schaefer, Ina; Norton, Roy A; Scheu, Stefan; Maraun, Mark

    2010-10-01

    Terrestrial fossils that document the early colonization of land are scarce for >100 my after the Cambrian explosion. This raises the question whether life on land did not exist or just did not fossilize. With a molecular dating technique, we analyzed the origin of terrestrial chelicerate microarthropods (Acari, Oribatida) which have a fossil record since the Middle Devonian that is exceptional among soil animals. Our results suggest that oribatid mites originated in the Precambrian (571+/-37 mya) and that the radiation of basal groups coincides with the gap in the terrestrial fossil record between the Cambrian explosion and the earliest fossilized records of continental ecosystems. Further, they suggest that the colonization of land started via the interstitial, approximately 150 my earlier than the oldest fossils of terrestrial ecosystems. Overall, the results imply that omnivorous and detritivorous arthropods formed a major component in early terrestrial food webs, thereby facilitating the invasion of terrestrial habitats by later colonizers of higher trophic levels. PMID:20420932

  19. Calcified microbes in Neoproterozoic carbonates: implications for our understanding of the Proterozoic/Cambrian transition

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Fairchild, I. J.; Swett, K.

    1993-01-01

    Tidal flat and lagoonal dolostones of the Neoproterozoic Draken Formation, Spitsbergen, exhibit excellent preservation of carbonate fabrics, including heavily calcified microfossils. The crust-forming cyanobacterium Polybessurus is preserved locally by carbonate precipitated on and within sheaths in mildly evaporitic upper intertidal to supratidal environments. In contrast, calcified filaments in columnar stromatolites reflect subtidal precipitation. Filament molds in dolomicrites independently document extremely early lithification. The presence of heavily calcified cyanobacteria in Draken and other Proterozoic carbonates constrains potential explanations for the widespread appearance of calcified microorganisms near the Proterozoic-Cambrian boundary. We propose that the rarity of Proterozoic examples principally reflects the abundance and wide distribution of carbonate crystals precipitated on the sea floor or in the water column. Cyanobacterial sheaths would have competed effectively as sites for carbonate nucleation and growth only where calcitic and/or aragonitic nuclei were absent. In this view, the Proterozoic-Cambrian expansion of calcified microfossils primarily reflects the emergence of skeletons as principal agents of carbonate deposition.

  20. Radioactivity in fossils at the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument.

    PubMed

    Farmer, C Neal; Kathren, Ronald L; Christensen, Craig

    2008-08-01

    Since 1996, higher than background levels of naturally occurring radioactivity have been documented in both fossil and mineral deposits at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in south-central Idaho. Radioactive fossil sites occur primarily within an elevation zone of 900-1000 m above sea level and are most commonly found associated with ancient river channels filled with sand. Fossils found in clay rich deposits do not exhibit discernable levels of radioactivity. Out of 300 randomly selected fossils, approximately three-fourths exhibit detectable levels of natural radioactivity ranging from 1 to 2 orders of magnitude above ambient background levels when surveyed with a portable hand held Geiger-Muller survey instrument. Mineral deposits in geologic strata also show above ambient background levels of radioactivity. Radiochemical lab analysis has documented the presence of numerous natural radioactive isotopes. It is postulated that ancient groundwater transported radioactive elements through sand bodies containing fossils which precipitated out of solution during the fossilization process. The elevated levels of natural radioactivity in fossils may require special precautions to ensure that exposures to personnel from stored or displayed items are kept as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA).

  1. Triassic leech cocoon from Antarctica contains fossil bell animal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bomfleur, Benjamin; Kerp, Hans; Taylor, Thomas N.; Moestrup, Øjvind; Taylor, Edith L.

    2012-12-01

    Our understanding of the evolution of life on Earth is limited by the imperfection of the fossil record. One reason for this imperfect record is that organisms without hard parts, such as bones, shells, and wood, have a very low potential to enter the fossil record. Occasionally, however, exceptional fossil deposits that preserve soft-bodied organisms provide a rare glimpse of the true biodiversity during past periods of Earth history. We here present an extraordinary find of a fossil ciliate that is encased inside the wall layer of a more than 200 Ma leech cocoon from Antarctica. The microfossil consists of a helically contractile stalk that attaches to a main body with a peristomial feeding apparatus and a large C-shaped macronucleus. It agrees in every aspect with the living bell animals, such as Vorticella. Vorticellids and similar peritrichs are vital constituents of aquatic ecosystems worldwide, but so far have lacked any fossil record. This discovery offers a glimpse of ancient soft-bodied protozoan biotas, and also highlights the potential of clitellate cocoons as microscopic "conservation traps" comparable to amber.

  2. Triassic leech cocoon from Antarctica contains fossil bell animal

    PubMed Central

    Bomfleur, Benjamin; Kerp, Hans; Taylor, Thomas N.; Moestrup, Øjvind; Taylor, Edith L.

    2012-01-01

    Our understanding of the evolution of life on Earth is limited by the imperfection of the fossil record. One reason for this imperfect record is that organisms without hard parts, such as bones, shells, and wood, have a very low potential to enter the fossil record. Occasionally, however, exceptional fossil deposits that preserve soft-bodied organisms provide a rare glimpse of the true biodiversity during past periods of Earth history. We here present an extraordinary find of a fossil ciliate that is encased inside the wall layer of a more than 200 Ma leech cocoon from Antarctica. The microfossil consists of a helically contractile stalk that attaches to a main body with a peristomial feeding apparatus and a large C-shaped macronucleus. It agrees in every aspect with the living bell animals, such as Vorticella. Vorticellids and similar peritrichs are vital constituents of aquatic ecosystems worldwide, but so far have lacked any fossil record. This discovery offers a glimpse of ancient soft-bodied protozoan biotas, and also highlights the potential of clitellate cocoons as microscopic “conservation traps” comparable to amber. PMID:23213234

  3. Seismic and non-seismic soft-sediment deformation structures in the Proterozoic Bhander Limestone, central India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sarkar, Subir; Choudhuri, Adrita; Banerjee, Santanu; Van Loon, A. J. (Tom); Bose, Pradip K.

    2014-07-01

    Numerous soft-sediment deformation structures occur within the Proterozoic Bhander Limestone of an intracratonic sag basin in a 750 m long section along the Thomas River, near Maihar, central India. Part of these deformation structures have most probably a non-seismic origin, but other structures are interpreted as resulting from earthquake-induced shocks. These seismic structures are concentrated in a 60 cm thick interval, which is interpreted as three stacked seismi-tes. These three seismites are traceable over the entire length of the section. They divide the sedimentary succession in a lower part (including the seismites) deposited in a hypersaline lagoon, and an upper open-marine (shelf) part. Most of the soft-sediment deformations outside the seismite interval occur in a lagoonal intraclastic and muddy facies association. The SSDS within the seismite interval show a lateral continuity. They record simultaneous fluidisation and liquefaction. The bases of each of the three composing seismite bands are defined by small-scale shear folds, probably recording an earthquake and aftershocks. The presence of the three seismite bands at the boundary between the lagoonal and the overlying open-marine oolitic facies association suggests that the seismic event also triggered basin subsidence.

  4. Carbonate deposition during the late Proterozoic Era: an example from Spitsbergen

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Swett, K.

    1990-01-01

    Carbonate sediments reflect the physico-chemical and biological circumstances of their formation; thus, features of limestones and dolomites may provide insights into both environmental and evolutionary change through geological time. The Upper Proterozoic (approx 800-700 Ma) Akademikerbreen Group, Spitsbergen, comprises 2000 m of carbonates, with only minor intercalations of quartz arenite and shale. Although Proterozoic carbonates are often seen as predominantly dolomitic, the Akademikerbreen Group is about 45 percent limestone. Stromatolites are conspicuous in outcrop but constitute only 25 percent of the total section. Micrites and coarser intraclastic carbonates derived mainly from micritric precursors comprise 60 percent of the group, while oolites make up the remaining 15 percent. Distinctive sedimentary features of the group include giant (up to 16 mm) ooids, very early diagenetic calcite nodules and cements, micrites containing subaqueous shrinkage cracks filled with equant microspar cement, and strong 13C enrichment in both carbonates and co-occurring organic matter. The principal features of Akademikerbreen carbonates are widely distributed in coeval successions. However, these rocks appear to differ from older limestones and dolomites in their relative abundance of grainstones and, perhaps, micrites, as well as their paucity of tufa-like laminates and columnar or coniform stromatolites that preserve petrographic evidence of in situ precipitation as a dominant means of carbonate accretion. Upper Proterozoic carbonates also differ from Paleozoic accumulations, but the transition is not abrupt. Most changes accompanying the Proterozoic/Phanerozoic transition can be interpreted in terms of the consequences rather than the causes of metazoan and metaphyte evolution, including the evolution of biomineralization. Carbonate sedimentology reinforces data from other sources which indicate the last 200 to 300 Ma of the Proterozoic Eon was a distinctive interval of

  5. Carbonate deposition during the late Proterozoic Era: an example from Spitsbergen.

    PubMed

    Knoll, A H; Swett, K

    1990-01-01

    Carbonate sediments reflect the physico-chemical and biological circumstances of their formation; thus, features of limestones and dolomites may provide insights into both environmental and evolutionary change through geological time. The Upper Proterozoic (approx 800-700 Ma) Akademikerbreen Group, Spitsbergen, comprises 2000 m of carbonates, with only minor intercalations of quartz arenite and shale. Although Proterozoic carbonates are often seen as predominantly dolomitic, the Akademikerbreen Group is about 45 percent limestone. Stromatolites are conspicuous in outcrop but constitute only 25 percent of the total section. Micrites and coarser intraclastic carbonates derived mainly from micritric precursors comprise 60 percent of the group, while oolites make up the remaining 15 percent. Distinctive sedimentary features of the group include giant (up to 16 mm) ooids, very early diagenetic calcite nodules and cements, micrites containing subaqueous shrinkage cracks filled with equant microspar cement, and strong 13C enrichment in both carbonates and co-occurring organic matter. The principal features of Akademikerbreen carbonates are widely distributed in coeval successions. However, these rocks appear to differ from older limestones and dolomites in their relative abundance of grainstones and, perhaps, micrites, as well as their paucity of tufa-like laminates and columnar or coniform stromatolites that preserve petrographic evidence of in situ precipitation as a dominant means of carbonate accretion. Upper Proterozoic carbonates also differ from Paleozoic accumulations, but the transition is not abrupt. Most changes accompanying the Proterozoic/Phanerozoic transition can be interpreted in terms of the consequences rather than the causes of metazoan and metaphyte evolution, including the evolution of biomineralization. Carbonate sedimentology reinforces data from other sources which indicate the last 200 to 300 Ma of the Proterozoic Eon was a distinctive interval of

  6. Proterozoic crustal boundary in the southern part of the Illinois Basin

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Heigold, P.C.; Kolata, Dennis R.

    1993-01-01

    Recently acquired COCORP and proprietary seismic reflection data in the southern part of the Illinois Basin, combined with other geological and geophysical data, indicate that a WNW-trending Proterozoic terrane boundary (40 km wide) lies within basement. The boundary is characterized by the termination of subhorizontal Proterozoic reflectors and associated diffraction patterns along a line coinciding with the major magnetic lineament in this region (South Central Magnetic Lineament). North of the boundary, where reflectors thought to represent a sequence of layered Proterozoic rocks in the upper crust are widespread and as much as 11 km thick, total magnetic intensity values are relatively high, suggesting layers of rock with high magnetic susceptibility. To the south, the Proterozoic rocks are acoustically transparent on seismic reflection sections and total magnetic intensity values are relatively low. Moreover, relatively high Bouguer gravity anomaly values to the south may be caused by a dense, altered, lower crustal layer similar to that interpreted from deep seismic refraction studies to underlie the northern Mississippi Embayment. The boundary lies along the projected trend of the northern margin of the Early Proterozoic Central Plains orogen and we suggest that it marks the convergent margin of this orogen. Reactivation of the boundary and the associated zone of weakness during late Paleozoic times apparently resulted in structural deformation in the southern part of the Illinois Basin, including movement along the Cottage Grove Fault System and Ste. Genevieve Fault Zone and igneous activity at Hicks Dome. In addition to the role played by this crustal boundary in the evolution of the Illinois Basin, its location between the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone to the northeast and the New Madrid Seismic Zone to the southwest may be a significant factor in present-day seismicity. ?? 1993.

  7. Carbonate deposition during the late Proterozoic Era: an example from Spitsbergen.

    PubMed

    Knoll, A H; Swett, K

    1990-01-01

    Carbonate sediments reflect the physico-chemical and biological circumstances of their formation; thus, features of limestones and dolomites may provide insights into both environmental and evolutionary change through geological time. The Upper Proterozoic (approx 800-700 Ma) Akademikerbreen Group, Spitsbergen, comprises 2000 m of carbonates, with only minor intercalations of quartz arenite and shale. Although Proterozoic carbonates are often seen as predominantly dolomitic, the Akademikerbreen Group is about 45 percent limestone. Stromatolites are conspicuous in outcrop but constitute only 25 percent of the total section. Micrites and coarser intraclastic carbonates derived mainly from micritric precursors comprise 60 percent of the group, while oolites make up the remaining 15 percent. Distinctive sedimentary features of the group include giant (up to 16 mm) ooids, very early diagenetic calcite nodules and cements, micrites containing subaqueous shrinkage cracks filled with equant microspar cement, and strong 13C enrichment in both carbonates and co-occurring organic matter. The principal features of Akademikerbreen carbonates are widely distributed in coeval successions. However, these rocks appear to differ from older limestones and dolomites in their relative abundance of grainstones and, perhaps, micrites, as well as their paucity of tufa-like laminates and columnar or coniform stromatolites that preserve petrographic evidence of in situ precipitation as a dominant means of carbonate accretion. Upper Proterozoic carbonates also differ from Paleozoic accumulations, but the transition is not abrupt. Most changes accompanying the Proterozoic/Phanerozoic transition can be interpreted in terms of the consequences rather than the causes of metazoan and metaphyte evolution, including the evolution of biomineralization. Carbonate sedimentology reinforces data from other sources which indicate the last 200 to 300 Ma of the Proterozoic Eon was a distinctive interval of

  8. The controversial “Cambrian” fossils of the Vindhyan are real but more than a billion years older

    PubMed Central

    Bengtson, Stefan; Belivanova, Veneta; Rasmussen, Birger; Whitehouse, Martin

    2009-01-01

    The age of the Vindhyan sedimentary basin in central India is controversial, because geochronology indicating early Proterozoic ages clashes with reports of Cambrian fossils. We present here an integrated paleontologic–geochronologic investigation to resolve this conundrum. New sampling of Lower Vindhyan phosphoritic stromatolitic dolomites from the northern flank of the Vindhyans confirms the presence of fossils most closely resembling those found elsewhere in Cambrian deposits: annulated tubes, embryo-like globules with polygonal surface pattern, and filamentous and coccoidal microbial fabrics similar to Girvanella and Renalcis. None of the fossils, however, can be ascribed to uniquely Cambrian or Ediacaran taxa. Indeed, the embryo-like globules are not interpreted as fossils at all but as former gas bubbles trapped in mucus-rich cyanobacterial mats. Direct dating of the same fossiliferous phosphorite yielded a Pb–Pb isochron of 1,650 ± 89 (2σ) million years ago, confirming the Paleoproterozoic age of the fossils. New U–Pb geochronology of zircons from tuffaceous mudrocks in the Lower Vindhyan Porcellanite Formation on the southern flank of the Vindhyans give comparable ages. The Vindhyan phosphorites provide a window of 3-dimensionally preserved Paleoproterozoic fossils resembling filamentous and coccoidal cyanobacteria and filamentous eukaryotic algae, as well as problematic forms. Like Neoproterozoic phosphorites a billion years later, the Vindhyan deposits offer important new insights into the nature and diversity of life, and in particular, the early evolution of multicellular eukaryotes. PMID:19416859

  9. Analysis of single oil-bearing fluid inclusions in mid-Proterozoic sandstones (Roper Group, Australia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Siljeström, Sandra; Volk, Herbert; George, Simon C.; Lausmaa, Jukka; Sjövall, Peter; Dutkiewicz, Adriana; Hode, Tomas

    2013-12-01

    Hydrocarbons and organic biomarkers extracted from black shales and other carbonaceous sedimentary rocks are valuable sources of information on the biodiversity and environment of early Earth. However, many Precambrian hydrocarbons including biomarkers are suspected of being younger contamination. An alternative approach is to study biomarkers trapped in oil-bearing fluid inclusions by bulk crushing samples and subsequently analysing the extracted hydrocarbons with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. However, this method does not constrain the hydrocarbons to one particular oil inclusion, which means that if several different generations of oil inclusions are present in the sample, a mix of the content from these oil inclusions will be analysed. In addition, samples with few and/or small inclusions are often below the detection limit. Recently, we showed that it is possible to detect organic biomarkers in single oil-bearing fluid inclusions using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). In the present study, single fluid inclusion analysis has been performed on Proterozoic samples for the first time. Four individual oil-bearing fluid inclusions, found in 1430 Ma sandstone from the Roper Superbasin in Northern Australia, were analysed with ToF-SIMS. The ToF-SIMS spectra of the oil in the different inclusions are very similar to each other and are consistent with the presence of n-alkanes/branched alkanes, monocyclic alkanes, bicyclic alkanes, aromatic hydrocarbons, and tetracyclic and pentacyclic hydrocarbons. These results are in agreement with those obtained from bulk crushing of inclusions trapped in the same samples. The capability to analyse the hydrocarbon and biomarker composition of single oil-bearing fluid inclusions is a major breakthrough, as it opens up a way of obtaining molecular compositional data on ancient oils without the ambiguity of the origin of these hydrocarbons. Additionally, this finding suggests that it will be possible

  10. New Paleomagnetic Constraints on the Proterozoic Supercontinent Evolution: A view from the South

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trindade, R. I.

    2013-05-01

    The assembly and disruption of supercontinents is thought to have impacted the long-term evolution of different envelopes of the Earth throughout Precambrian times, from mantle convection dynamics to feedback mechanisms leading to the stepwise change in atmospheric oxygenation. But the timing, duration, the size and the paleogeographic configuration of Precambrian supercontinents is still a matter of discussion. Large South American cratonic units (>30,000 km2) such as the Amazon, Rio de la Plata and São Francisco are usually represented as key pieces of different supercontinental assemblies but their paleomagnetic database is still scarce. The most important advances in the Precambrian paleomagnetic database concerns the Amazon Craton. Recent paleomagnetic studies allows one to track the participation of the Amazon Craton in several supercontinent assemblies from 2.0 Ga up to the end of the Proterozoic era. Amazonia was definitely part of the Columbia Supercontinent as attested by 1.78-1.79 Ga key poles. This supercontinent also comprised Laurentia, Baltica, North China, and Amazonia, forming a long and continuous landmass, linked by Paleo- to Mesoproterozoic mobile belts. Paleomagnetic data for Amazonia support a long-lived connection between Laurentia and Baltica at least until 1.26 Ga ago. However, new paleomagnetic poles from the same craton suggest that Columbia was in fact ephemerous, indicating a changing configuration between Amazonia and Baltica between 1.78 and 1.44 Ma. At the end of the Mesoproterozoic, the Amazon craton is part of Rodinia based on its record of Grenvillian events with overlapping ages with similar orogenic belts in eastern Laurentia. But its relative position in that supercontinent is still intensively debated. Presently only four poles for the Amazonian craton are available for the 1,200-900 Ma interval. Based on these results a dynamic model for the Amazonian craton was envisaged, which considers its oblique collision with southern

  11. Fossil fuel furnace reactor

    DOEpatents

    Parkinson, William J.

    1987-01-01

    A fossil fuel furnace reactor is provided for simulating a continuous processing plant with a batch reactor. An internal reaction vessel contains a batch of shale oil, with the vessel having a relatively thin wall thickness for a heat transfer rate effective to simulate a process temperature history in the selected continuous processing plant. A heater jacket is disposed about the reactor vessel and defines a number of independent controllable temperature zones axially spaced along the reaction vessel. Each temperature zone can be energized to simulate a time-temperature history of process material through the continuous plant. A pressure vessel contains both the heater jacket and the reaction vessel at an operating pressure functionally selected to simulate the continuous processing plant. The process yield from the oil shale may be used as feedback information to software simulating operation of the continuous plant to provide operating parameters, i.e., temperature profiles, ambient atmosphere, operating pressure, material feed rates, etc., for simulation in the batch reactor.

  12. Exploring macroevolution using modern and fossil data

    PubMed Central

    Benton, Michael J.

    2015-01-01

    Macroevolution, encompassing the deep-time patterns of the origins of modern biodiversity, has been discussed in many contexts. Non-Darwinian models such as macromutations have been proposed as a means of bridging seemingly large gaps in knowledge, or as a means to explain the origin of exquisitely adapted body plans. However, such gaps can be spanned by new fossil finds, and complex, integrated organisms can be shown to have evolved piecemeal. For example, the fossil record between dinosaurs and Archaeopteryx has now filled up with astonishing fossil intermediates that show how the unique plexus of avian adaptations emerged step by step over 60 Myr. New numerical approaches to morphometrics and phylogenetic comparative methods allow palaeontologists and biologists to work together on deep-time questions of evolution, to explore how diversity, morphology and function have changed through time. Patterns are more complex than sometimes expected, with frequent decoupling of species diversity and morphological diversity, pointing to the need for some new generalizations about the processes that lie behind such patterns. PMID:26063844

  13. Exploring macroevolution using modern and fossil data.

    PubMed

    Benton, Michael J

    2015-07-01

    Macroevolution, encompassing the deep-time patterns of the origins of modern biodiversity, has been discussed in many contexts. Non-Darwinian models such as macromutations have been proposed as a means of bridging seemingly large gaps in knowledge, or as a means to explain the origin of exquisitely adapted body plans. However, such gaps can be spanned by new fossil finds, and complex, integrated organisms can be shown to have evolved piecemeal. For example, the fossil record between dinosaurs and Archaeopteryx has now filled up with astonishing fossil intermediates that show how the unique plexus of avian adaptations emerged step by step over 60 Myr. New numerical approaches to morphometrics and phylogenetic comparative methods allow palaeontologists and biologists to work together on deep-time questions of evolution, to explore how diversity, morphology and function have changed through time. Patterns are more complex than sometimes expected, with frequent decoupling of species diversity and morphological diversity, pointing to the need for some new generalizations about the processes that lie behind such patterns.

  14. Studies of the proterozoic tectonic evolution of the southwestern United States

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seeley, John Martin

    This dissertation is comprised of an introductory chapter (1) and four subsequent chapters (2, 3, 4, and 5) which concentrate on the evolution of Proterozoic rocks of the southwestern United States. Chapter 2 utilizes gravity and magnetic geophysical techniques to delineate subsurface occurrences of Mesoproterozoic Unkar and Neoproterozoic Chuar Group rocks in northern Arizona and southern Utah. These rocks were delineated using gravity and aeromagnetic data, in combination with gravity profile modeling, seismic velocity analysis, geologic cross-sections, analysis of surface geologic structures, and analysis of drilling data. Delineation of Proterozoic extensional trends within this region provides insights in to Proterozoic paleogeography along the southwestern margin of Laurentia. Chapter 3 focuses on the geologic mapping and areal distribution of the Mesoproterozoic Apache Group, Troy Quartzite and diabase in central Arizona. Landsat TM imagery was used in combination with existing geologic maps of the region to define the areal distribution of these units. Results were used to construct a regional-scale photo-geologic map of exposed Middle Proterozoic rocks. Chapter 4 introduces a sequence stratigraphic model for siliciclastic rocks of the Mesoproterozoic Lanoria Formation of the Franklin Mountains, Texas, comprised of 700+ m of marine shelf and marginal marine sandstone, siltstone and mudstone. It is divided into six members (L1 through L6). Four facies associations are identified: proximal, distal shelf; tidal flat; incised valley; and, estuarine/deltaic. Six stratigraphic sequences have been interpreted. Sequences LS1, LS2, LS4 and LS6 represent marine shelf deposits. Sequence LS3 comprises incised valley fill and overlying tidal flat deposits. Sequence LS5 comprises incised valley fill overlain by estuarine/deltaic sediments. Sequences, facies, and paleocurrents suggest a northward sloping platform, indicating a southern source. Tidal processes dominated on

  15. Evolution in fossil lineages: paleontology and The Origin of Species.

    PubMed

    Hunt, Gene

    2010-12-01

    Of all of the sources of evidence for evolution by natural selection, perhaps the most problematic for Darwin was the geological record of organic change. In response to the absence of species-level transformations in the fossil record, Darwin argued that the fossil record was too incomplete, too biased, and too poorly known to provide strong evidence against his theory. Here, this view of the fossil record is evaluated in light of 150 years of subsequent paleontological research. Although Darwin's assessment of the completeness and resolution of fossiliferous rocks was in several ways astute, today the fossil record is much better explored, documented, and understood than it was in 1859. In particular, a reasonably large set of studies tracing evolutionary trajectories within species can now be brought to bear on Darwin's expectation of gradual change driven by natural selection. An unusually high-resolution sequence of stickleback-bearing strata records the transformation of this lineage via natural selection. This adaptive trajectory is qualitatively consistent with Darwin's prediction, but it occurred much more rapidly than he would have guessed: almost all of the directional change was completed within 1,000 generations. In most geological sequences, this change would be too rapid to resolve. The accumulated fossil record at more typical paleontological scales (10(4)-10(6) years) reveals evolutionary changes that are rarely directional and net rates of change that are perhaps surprisingly slow, two findings that are in agreement with the punctuated-equilibrium model. Finally, Darwin's view of the broader history of life is reviewed briefly, with a focus on competition-mediated extinction and recent paleontological and phylogenetic attempts to assess diversity dependence in evolutionary dynamics.

  16. FOSSIL2 energy policy model documentation: FOSSIL2 documentation

    SciTech Connect

    1980-10-01

    This report discusses the structure, derivations, assumptions, and mathematical formulation of the FOSSIL2 model. Each major facet of the model - supply/demand interactions, industry financing, and production - has been designed to parallel closely the actual cause/effect relationships determining the behavior of the United States energy system. The data base for the FOSSIL2 program is large, as is appropriate for a system dynamics simulation model. When possible, all data were obtained from sources well known to experts in the energy field. Cost and resource estimates are based on DOE data whenever possible. This report presents the FOSSIL2 model at several levels. Volumes II and III of this report list the equations that comprise the FOSSIL2 model, along with variable definitions and a cross-reference list of the model variables. Volume III lists the model equations and a one line definition for equations, in a short, readable format.

  17. Replication in plastic of three-dimensional fossils preserved in indurated clastic sedimentary rocks.

    PubMed

    Zapasnik, H T; Johnston, P A

    1984-06-29

    A new technique for replicating in plastic the fossils preserved in clastic rocks should now make available reliable morphologic and frequency data, comparable in quality to those derived from acid-prepared silicified faunas, for a major segment of the fossil record. The technique involves three steps: the dissolution of carbonate in fossiliferous rocks with hydrochloric acid, impregnation of resulting voids with liquid plastic, and dissolution of the rock matrix with hydrofluoric acid, leaving a concentrate of plastic-replaced fossils.

  18. Fossilized bioelectric wire – the trace fossil Trichichnus

    PubMed Central

    Kędzierski, M.; Uchman, A.; Sawlowicz, Z.; Briguglio, A.

    2015-01-01

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the oxic–anoxic interface zone of marine sediments. This fulfils the idea that such processes, commonly found in the modern realm, should be also present in the geological past. Trichichnus is an exceptional trace fossil due to its very thin diameter (mostly less than 1 mm) and common pyritic filling. It is ubiquitous in some fine-grained sediments, where it has been interpreted as a burrow formed deeper than any other trace fossils, below the redox boundary. Trichichnus, formerly referred to as deeply burrowed invertebrates, has been found as remnant of a fossilized intrasediment bacterial mat that is pyritized. As visualized in 3-D by means of X-ray computed microtomography scanner, Trichichnus forms dense filamentous fabric, which reflects that it is produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Thioploca-related taxa, which are able to house a complex bacterial consortium. Several stages of Trichichnus formation, including filamentous, bacterial mat and its pyritization, are proposed to explain an electron exchange between oxic and suboxic/anoxic layers in the sediment. Therefore, Trichichnus can be considered a fossilized “electric wire”. PMID:26290671

  19. Middle proterozoic tectonic activity in west Texas and eastern New Mexico and analysis of gravity and magnetic anomalies

    SciTech Connect

    Adams, D.C.; Keller, G.R. )

    1994-03-01

    The Precambrian history of west Texas and eastern New Mexico is complex, consisting of four events: Early Proterozoic orogenic activity (16309-1800 Ma), formation of the western granite-rhyolite province (WGRP) (1340-1410 Ma), Grenville age tectonics (1116-1232 Ma), and middle Proterozoic extension possibly related to mid-continent rifting (1086-1109 Ma). Pre-Grenville tectonics, Grenville tectonics, and mid-continent rifting are represented in this area by the Abilene gravity minimum (AGM) and bimodal igneous rocks, which are probably younger. We have used gravity modeling and the comparison of gravity and magnetic anomalies with rock types reported from wells penetrating Precambrian basement to study the AGM and middle Proterozoic extension in this area. The AGM is an east-northeast-trending, 600 km long, gravity low, which extends from the Texas-Oklahoma border through the central basin platform (CBP) to the Delaware basin. This feature appears to predate formation of the mafic body in the CBP (1163 Ma) and is most likely related to Pre-Grenville tectonics, possibly representing a continental margin arc batholith. Evidence of middle Proterozoic extension is found in the form of igneous bodies in the CBP, the Van Horn uplift, the Franklin Mountains, and the Sacramento Mountains. Analysis of gravity and magnetic anomalies shows that paired gravity and magnetic highs are related to mafic intrusions in the upper crust. Mapping of middle Proterozoic igneous rocks and the paired anomalies outlines a 530 km diameter area of distributed east-west-oriented extension. The Debaca-Swisher terrain of shallow marine and clastic sedimentary rocks is age correlative with middle Proterozoic extension. These rocks may represent the lithology of possible Proterozoic exploration targets. Proterozoic structures were reactivated during the Paleozoic, affecting both the structure and deposition in the Permian basin.

  20. Late Proterozoic diabase dikes of the New Jersey Highlands; a remnant of Iapetan rifting in the north-central Appalachians

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Volkert, R.A.; Puffer, J.H.

    1995-01-01

    Diabase dikes of widespread occurrence intrude only middle Proterozoic rocks in the New Jersey Highlands. These dikes are enriched in TiO2, P2O5, Zr, and light rare earth elements, and have compositions that range from tholeiitic to alkalic. Dike descriptions, field relations, petrography, geochemistry, petrogenesis, and tectonic setting are discussed. The data are consistent with emplacement in a rift-related, within-plate environment and suggest a correlation with other occurrences of late Proterozoic Appalachian basaltic magmatism.

  1. Properties of the proterozoic geomagnetic field and geological applications of paleomagnetic data from rocks of the North American Midcontinent rift

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kulakov, Evgeniy V.

    Rocks of the North American Midcontinent rift (MCR) exposed in the Lake Superior area provide an excellent opportunity to use paleomagnetism as a means of studying the characteristics of the Proterozoic geomagnetic field and the history of the rift itself. Detailed paleomagnetic and paleointensity studies of different rock units associated with the MCR, including the 1108 Ma alkaline Coldwell Complex (Ontario, Canada), the basaltic lava flows of the Geordie Lake (Ontario, Canada) and Silver Mountain (Upper Michigan, USA) that are assumed to be 1107-1108 Ma, the ˜1095 Ma lava flows of the Portage Lake Volcanics (PLV) (Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan), and the ˜1088 Ma flows of the Lake Shore Traps (LST) (Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan) are presented. Paleomagnetic data from the Coldwell Complex indicate that the apparent asymmetry of geomagnetic reversal, recorded by many Keweenawan rocks is an artifact due to fast equator-ward motion of the North American plate during the MCR evolution. The Coldwell Complex data support the validity of the geocentric axial dipole assumption for the ˜1.1 Ga. Extrusive rocks exposed on the Keweenaw Peninsula reveal similar to that of the present day geomagnetic field paleosecular variation. Samples from the ˜1088 Ma Lake Shore Traps yielded consistent paleofield values with a mean value of 26.3 +/- 4.7 μT, which corresponds to a virtual dipole moment of 5.9 +/- 1.1 x 10 22 Am2. The mean and range of paleofield values are similar to those of the recent Earth's magnetic field and incompatible with a "Proterozoic dipole low". These results are consistent with a modern type compositionally-driven geodynamo operating by the end of Mesoproterozoic. New high-quality paleomagnetic poles calculated for the ˜1108 Ma Coldwell Complex and coeval extrusive rocks, and ˜ 1094 Ma PLV indicate that North America was moving directly equator-ward with an approximately 20-25 cm/year rate between 1108 and 1094 Ma with a significant slowdown in motion

  2. Syndepositional and postdepositional features of the manganese ore deposits of the Proterozoic Penganga group, Adilabad district, Andhra Pradesh, India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bandopadhyay, P. C.

    1988-04-01

    The Proterozoic Penganga Group consisting of terrigenous and orthochemical sediments including a manganese orebody is well developed in the northwestern part of the Adilabad district, Andhra Pradesh. The manganese orebody of unmetamorphosed and undeformed, interbanded manganese oxide ore, chert, and minor calcareous shale has retained excellent syndepositional and postdepositional features both on the macro-and microscales. The primary depositional features include meso- and microbands of manganese oxide and silica of different descriptions, scour-and-fill structures, and Mn oxide micronodules. Spherical siliceous μm-sized structures and other features of biogenic origin have been observed. Diagenetic features such as fabric changes, syneresis cracks, concretionary pods, and Mn oxide nodules have been recorded. They are accompanied by penecontemporaneous deformation structures such as pinch-and-swell structures, gravity-density features, brecciation, and folding and faulting of various kinds. All these features suggest that the manganese orebody was formed in a shallow-marine environment on a stable shelf possibly behind a barrier bar and subsequently underwent diagenetic reorganization and penecontemporaneous deformation when the sediments were still in a hydroplastic state.

  3. Archaean Crustal Growth, Proterozoic Terrane Amalgamation and the Pan-African Orogeny, as Recorded in the NE African Sedimentary Record.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Najman, Y.; Fielding, L.; Millar, I.; Butterworth, P.; Andò, S.; Padoan, M.; Barfod, D. N.; Kneller, B. C.

    2015-12-01

    The cratons of Central Africa are formed of various blocks of Archaean and Palaeoproterozoic crust, flanked or truncated by Palaeoproterozoic to Mesoproterozoic orogenic belts. The geology of east Africa has largely been shaped by the events of the Pan-African Orogeny when east and west Gondwana collided to form 'Greater Gondwana' at the end of the Neoproterozoic. The Pan-African orogeny in NE Africa involved the collision of Archaean cratons and the Saharan Metacraton with the Arabian Nubian Shield, a terrane comprising Neoproterozoic juvenile oceanic island arcs. Phanerozoic cover sedimentary rocks, eroded from the Pan-African orogenies, blanket much of NE Africa. Detrital data from these Phanerozoic cover sedimentary rocks, and modern rivers draining both the cover the basement, provide a wealth of information on basement evolution, of particular relevance for regions where the basement itself is poorly exposed due to ancient or modern sedimentary cover. From samples collected in Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, we provide combined U-Pb and Hf-isotope zircon, U-Pb rutile and Ar-Ar mica datasets, heavy mineral analyses, and bulk trace element data, from Archaean basement, Phanerozoic cover and modern river sediment from the Nile and its tributaries to document the evolution of the North African crust. The data document early crust-forming events in the Congo Craton and Sahara Metacraton, phased development of the Arabian Nubian Shield culminating in the Neoproterozoic assembly of Gondwana during the Pan African Orogeny, and the orogen's subsequent erosion, with deposition of voluminous Phanerozoic cover.

  4. Corrected placement of Mus-Rattus fossil calibration forces precision in the molecular tree of rodents.

    PubMed

    Kimura, Yuri; Hawkins, Melissa T R; McDonough, Molly M; Jacobs, Louis L; Flynn, Lawrence J

    2015-09-28

    Time calibration derived from the fossil record is essential for molecular phylogenetic and evolutionary studies. Fossil mice and rats, discovered in the Siwalik Group of Pakistan, have served as one of the best-known fossil calibration points in molecular phylogenic studies. Although these fossils have been widely used as the 12 Ma date for the Mus/Rattus split or a more basal split, conclusive paleontological evidence for the nodal assignments has been absent. This study analyzes newly recognized characters that demonstrate lineage separation in the fossil record of Siwalik murines and examines the most reasonable nodal placement of the diverging lineages in a molecular phylogenetic tree by ancestral state reconstruction. Our specimen-based approach strongly indicates that Siwalik murines of the Karnimata clade are fossil members of the Arvicanthini-Otomyini-Millardini clade, which excludes Rattus and its relatives. Combining the new interpretation with the widely accepted hypothesis that the Progonomys clade includes Mus, the lineage separation event in the Siwalik fossil record represents the Mus/Arvicanthis split. Our test analysis on Bayesian age estimates shows that this new calibration point provides more accurate estimates of murine divergence than previous applications. Thus, we define this fossil calibration point and refine two other fossil-based points for molecular dating.

  5. Greenhouse warming by nitrous oxide and methane in the Proterozoic Eon.

    PubMed

    Roberson, A L; Roadt, J; Halevy, I; Kasting, J F

    2011-07-01

    An anoxic, sulfidic ocean that may have existed during the Proterozoic Eon (0.54-2.4 Ga) would have had limited trace metal abundances because of the low solubility of metal sulfides. The lack of copper, in particular, could have had a significant impact on marine denitrification. Copper is needed for the enzyme that controls the final step of denitrification, from N(2) O to N(2) . Today, only about 5-6% of denitrification results in release of N(2) O. If all denitrification stopped at N(2) O during the Proterozoic, the N(2) O flux could have been 15-20 times higher than today, producing N(2) O concentrations of several ppmv, but only if O(2) levels were relatively high (>0.1 PAL). At lower O(2) levels, N(2) O is rapidly photodissociated. Methane concentrations may also have been elevated during this time, as has been previously suggested. A lack of dissolved O(2) and sulfate in the deep ocean could have produced a high methane flux from marine sediments, as much as 10-20 times today's methane flux from land. The photochemical lifetime of CH(4) increases as more CH(4) is added to the atmosphere, so CH(4) concentrations of up to 100 ppmv are possible during this time. The combined greenhouse effect of CH(4) and N(2) O could have provided up to 10° of warming, thereby keeping the surface warm during the Proterozoic without necessitating high CO(2) levels. A second oxygenation event near the end of the Proterozoic would have resulted in a reduction in both atmospheric N(2) O and CH(4) , perhaps triggering the Neoproterozoic "Snowball Earth" glaciations.

  6. Was the Coppermine Homocline of northwestern Canada uplifted as part of a Middle Proterozoic forebulge

    SciTech Connect

    Cook, F.A. )

    1991-01-01

    Application of the principles of elastic plate bending to subsurface geometric information and outcrop in northwestern Canada suggests that Proterozoic crust was loaded and deflected during orogenic activity between about 1.6 and 1.1 Ga. Exposed Hudsonian (ca. 1.8-2.0 Ga) basement separating younger but coeval stratigraphic sequences in the Coppermine Homocline on the west and Bathurst Inlet on the east can be explained as a forebulge associated with the loading.

  7. Dating Fossil Pollen: A Simulation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sheridan, Philip

    1992-01-01

    Describes a hands-on simulation in which students determine the age of "fossil" pollen samples based on the pollen types present when examined microscopically. Provides instructions for the preparation of pollen slides. (MDH)

  8. Vertebrate fossils and trace fossils in Upper Jurassic-Lower cretaceous red beds in the Atacama region, Chile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, C. M.; Suárez, M.

    Pterosaur, dinosaur, and crocodile bones are recorded here for the first time in Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous red beds in the Atacama region east of Copiapó, Chile. Trace fossils produced by vertebrate animals include the footprints of theropod dinosaurs and the depressions of sandstone laminae interpreted as burrows and foot impressions. The fossils occur in the 1500-meter-thick Quebrada Monardes Formation, which consists predominantly of the aeolian and alluvial deposits of a semi-arid terrestrial environment. Vertebrate fossils are very rare in Chile. Dinosaur bones and footprints have previously been recorded at only seven locations, and pterosaur remains at only one location. The newly discovered dinosaur bones are the oldest to be described in Chile.

  9. The legacy of fossil fuels.

    PubMed

    Armaroli, Nicola; Balzani, Vincenzo

    2011-03-01

    Currently, over 80% of the energy used by mankind comes from fossil fuels. Harnessing coal, oil and gas, the energy resources contained in the store of our spaceship, Earth, has prompted a dramatic expansion in energy use and a substantial improvement in the quality of life of billions of individuals in some regions of the world. Powering our civilization with fossil fuels has been very convenient, but now we know that it entails severe consequences. We treat fossil fuels as a resource that anyone anywhere can extract and use in any fashion, and Earth's atmosphere, soil and oceans as a dump for their waste products, including more than 30 Gt/y of carbon dioxide. At present, environmental legacy rather than consistence of exploitable reserves, is the most dramatic problem posed by the relentless increase of fossil fuel global demand. Harmful effects on the environment and human health, usually not incorporated into the pricing of fossil fuels, include immediate and short-term impacts related to their discovery, extraction, transportation, distribution, and burning as well as climate change that are spread over time to future generations or over space to the entire planet. In this essay, several aspects of the fossil fuel legacy are discussed, such as alteration of the carbon cycle, carbon dioxide rise and its measurement, greenhouse effect, anthropogenic climate change, air pollution and human health, geoengineering proposals, land and water degradation, economic problems, indirect effects on the society, and the urgent need of regulatory efforts and related actions to promote a gradual transition out of the fossil fuel era. While manufacturing sustainable solar fuels appears to be a longer-time perspective, alternatives energy sources already exist that have the potential to replace fossil fuels as feedstocks for electricity production.

  10. Stromatolites of the Mescal Limestone (Apache Group, middle Proterozoic, central Arizona): taxonomy, biostratigraphy, and paleoenvironments.

    PubMed

    Bertrand-Sarfati, J; Awramik, S M

    1992-09-01

    The 25- to 30-m-thick Algal Member of the Mescal Limestone (middle Proterozoic Apache Group) contains two distinct stromatolitic units: at the base, a 2- to 3-m-thick unit composed of columnar stromatolites and above, a thicker unit of stratiform and pseudocolumnar stromatolites. Columnar forms from the first unit belong to the Group Tungussia, and two new Forms are described: T. mescalita and T. chrysotila. Among the pseudocolumnar stromatolites of the thicker unit, one distinctive new taxon, Apachina henryi, is described. Because of the low stromatolite diversity, the biostratigraphic value of this assemblage is limited. The presence of Tungussia is consistent with the generally accepted isotopic age for the Apache Group of 1200 to 1100 Ma. The Mescal stromatolites do not closely resemble any other known Proterozoic stromatolites in the southwestern United States or northwestern Mexico. Analyses of sedimentary features and stromatolite growth forms suggest deposition on a stable, flat, shallow, subtidal protected platform during phases of Tungussia growth. Current action probably influenced the development of columns, pseudocolumns, and elongate stromatolitic ridges; these conditions alternated with phases of relatively quiet water characterized by nonoriented stromatolitic domes and stratiform stromatolites. Stable conditions favorable for development of the Mescal stromatolites were short-lived and did not permit the development of thick, stromatolite-bearing units such as those characteristic of many Proterozoic sequences elsewhere.

  11. Microfossils from oolites and pisolites of the Upper Proterozoic Eleonore Bay Group, Central East Greenland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Green, J. W.; Knoll, A. H.; Swett, K.

    1988-01-01

    Silicified oolites and pisolites from Bed 18 of the Upper Proterozoic (about 700-800 Ma) Limestone-Dolomite "Series" of the Eleonore Bay Group, central East Greenland, contain a diverse suite of organically preserved microfossils that is, for the most part. [Of the] assemblages previously described from Proterozoic cherts and shales. Three principal assemblages occur in these rocks: 1) a class bound assemblage found in detrital carbonate grains (now silicified) that served as nuclei for ooid and pisoid growth, as well as in uncoated mud and mat clasts that were carried into the zone of ooid and pisoid deposition; 2) an epilithic and interstitial assemblage consisting of microorganisms that occurred on top of and between grains; and 3) a euendolithic assemblage composed of microbes that actively bored into coated grains. The Upper Proterozoic euendolithic assemblage closely resembles a community of euendolithic cyanobacteria found today in shallow marine ooid sands of the Bahama Banks. Thirteen species are described, of which eight are new, five representing new genera: Eohyella dichotoma n. sp., Eohyella endoatracta n. sp., Eohyella rectoclada n. sp., Thylacocausticus globorum n. gen. and sp., Cunicularius halleri n. gen. and sp., Graviglomus incrustus n. gen. and sp., Perulagranum obovatum n. gen. and sp., and Parenchymodiscus endolithicus n. gen. and sp.

  12. Stromatolites of the Mescal Limestone (Apache Group, middle Proterozoic, central Arizona): taxonomy, biostratigraphy, and paleoenvironments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bertrand-Sarfati, J.; Awramik, S. M.

    1992-01-01

    The 25- to 30-m-thick Algal Member of the Mescal Limestone (middle Proterozoic Apache Group) contains two distinct stromatolitic units: at the base, a 2- to 3-m-thick unit composed of columnar stromatolites and above, a thicker unit of stratiform and pseudocolumnar stromatolites. Columnar forms from the first unit belong to the Group Tungussia, and two new Forms are described: T. mescalita and T. chrysotila. Among the pseudocolumnar stromatolites of the thicker unit, one distinctive new taxon, Apachina henryi, is described. Because of the low stromatolite diversity, the biostratigraphic value of this assemblage is limited. The presence of Tungussia is consistent with the generally accepted isotopic age for the Apache Group of 1200 to 1100 Ma. The Mescal stromatolites do not closely resemble any other known Proterozoic stromatolites in the southwestern United States or northwestern Mexico. Analyses of sedimentary features and stromatolite growth forms suggest deposition on a stable, flat, shallow, subtidal protected platform during phases of Tungussia growth. Current action probably influenced the development of columns, pseudocolumns, and elongate stromatolitic ridges; these conditions alternated with phases of relatively quiet water characterized by nonoriented stromatolitic domes and stratiform stromatolites. Stable conditions favorable for development of the Mescal stromatolites were short-lived and did not permit the development of thick, stromatolite-bearing units such as those characteristic of many Proterozoic sequences elsewhere.

  13. Sr isotopic variations in Upper Proterozoic carbonates from Svalbard and East Greenland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Derry, Louis A.; Keto, Lisette S.; Jacobsen, Stein B.; Knoll, Andrew H.; Swett, Keene

    1989-01-01

    Precambrian Sr isotope stratigraphy was investigated by determining variations in Sr-87/Sr-86 ratios in the Upper Proterozoic carbonate succession from Svalbard and East Greenland. Data from this study were combined with those from literature to construct a curve of Sr-87/Sr-86 versus time for Upper Proterozoic seawater. The curve for the Upper Riphean-Vandian showed that the isotopic composition of Sr in seawater was low (Delta Sr-87 of about -500) between 900 and 650 Ma but rose rapidly to about +30 by 600 Ma (this range of long-term variation exceeds the total Phanerozoic variation). The very low values of Delta Sr-87 inferred for the Riphean require that, for this time, the submarine hydrothermal water flux was a large fraction of the Sr input to the oceans, while the rise in Delta Sr-87 in the Upper Proterozoic seawater reflects both a change in the ratio of hydrothermal and continental fluxes of Sr to the oceans, and a change in the isotopic composition of Sr from continental sources.

  14. Middle Proterozoic age for the Montpelier Anorthosite, Goochland terrane, eastern Piedmont, Virginia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Aleinikoff, J.N.; Horton, J.W.; Walter, M.

    1996-01-01

    Uranium-lead dating of zircons from the Montpelier Anorthosite confirms previous interpretations, based on equivocal evidence, that the Goochland terrane in the eastern Piedmont of Virginia contains Grenvillian basement rocks of Middle Proterozoic age. A very few prismatic, elongate, euhedral zircons, which contain 12-29 ppm uranium, are interpreted to be igneous in origin. The vast majority of zircons are more equant, subangular to anhedral, contain 38-52 ppm uranium, and are interpreted to be metamorphic in origin. One fraction of elongate zircon, and four fragments of a very large zircon (occurring in a nelsonite segregation) yield an upper intercept age of 1045 ?? 10 Ma, interpreted as the time of anorthosite crystallization. Irregularly shaped metamorphic zircons are dated at 1011 ?? 2 Ma (weighted average of the 207Pb/206Pb ages). The U-Pb isotopic systematics of metamorphic titanite were reset during the Alleghanian orogeny at 297 ?? 5 Ma. These data provide a minimum age for gneisses of the Goochland terrane that are intruded by the anorthosite. Middle Proterozoic basement rocks of the Goochland terrane may be correlative with those in the Shenandoah massif of the Blue Ridge tectonic province, as suggested by similarities between the Montpelier Anorthosite and the Roseland anorthosite. Although the areal extent of Middle Proterozoic basement and basement-cover relations in the eastern Piedmont remain unresolved, results of this investigation indicate that the Goochland terrane is an internal massif of Laurentian crust rather than an exotic accreted terrane.

  15. The Wisconsin magmatic terrane: An Early Proterozoic greenstone-granite terrane formed by plate tectonic processes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)</