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TitleEarly burst in the colonization of continental ecospace and the evolution of behaviour
AuthorMinter, N J; Buatois, L A; Mangano, M G; Davies, N S; Gibling, M R; MacNaughton, R BORCID logo; Labandeira, C
SourceThe Palaeontological Association, 59th Annual Meeting: programme, abstracts and AGM papers; 2015 p. 69
LinksOnline - En ligne (complete volume - volume complet, pdf, 1.63 MB)
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20150372
PublisherThe Palaeontological Association
Meeting59th Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association; Cardiff, Wales; GB; December 14-17, 2015
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
Lat/Long WENS-180.0000 180.0000 90.0000 -90.0000
Subjectspaleontology; Nature and Environment; evolution; fossils; trace fossils; ichnofossils; ichnology; ichnofacies; continental margins; depositional environment; marine environments; coastal environment; lacustrine environments; ecosystems; models; Neoproterozoic; Ediacaran; Diversification; Colonization; Behaviour; Animals; Phanerozoic; Paleozoic; Ordovician; Cambrian; Precambrian; Proterozoic
ProgramScience laboratory network
Released2015 12 01
AbstractThe colonization of land was a major evolutionary transition. Ichnological evidence suggests that this process may have begun at the end of the Ediacaran, with incursions into very shallow, marginal-marine settings. Animals made their first unequivocal amphibious terrestrial forays during the Cambrian and had managed to establish themselves in truly alluvial environments by the Late Ordovician. The remainder of the Palaeozoic is characterized by an explosion of diversity and a progressive expansion from coastal settings inland into rivers, floodplains, deserts and lakes; as well as increasing colonization of infaunal ecospace and the creation of new niches. A framework is presented for analysing ecospace occupation and ecosystem engineering through the use of trace fossil data. The colonization of each new continental environment may be viewed as a series of repeated experiments in ecospace filling and niche creation. A pattern emerges in which colonization of a new environment is followed by rapid filling of ecospace, after which animals establish new behavioural programmes represented initially by the appearance of original trace fossil architectural designs, and subsequently by a proliferation of ichnogenera representing variation upon these established themes. This pattern is consistent with the early burst model of diversification.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Evidence from trace fossils (fossilized evidence of animal behaviour; e.g., tracks, trails, burrows) permits us to reconstruct the history of early colonization of land by animals. This occurred roughly during the time between 540 million and 440 million years ago. It appears that ecospace in each new environment was filled rapidly following initial colonization, with diversification of behaviours in the environment following later.

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