Deakin University

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Evolution in a cold climate

journal contribution
posted on 2010-12-01, 00:00 authored by J Waterhouse, Guang ShiGuang Shi
A brief appraisal of marine fossils from high latitudes and episodically cold climate especially in east Australia and New Zealand during Late Palaeozoic and Early Mesozoic times shows patterns of evolution and survival that differ from those adduced for the palaeotropics and Northern Hemisphere. Examples taken from amongst phyla Scyphozoa, Bryozoa, Brachiopoda and Classes Bivalvia and Class Cephalopoda suggest these attributes:
1. Evolution and demise of species and genera proceeded at a rate close to that known for palaeotropical and Northern Hemisphere macro-invertebrates, but involved fewer families and orders.
2. Possibly, intraspecific variation was greater amongst southern palaeohemisphere Permian species than in those of the Permian palaeotropics.
3. There was no proven diminution of life at the end of the Guadalupian (Middle Permian) at southern high latitudes, where however the fossil record is meagre for this interval. Younger Wuchiapingian and Changhsingian faunas were moderately diverse.
4. There is no evidence for a high latitude Southern Hemisphere anoxic event in the Early Triassic despite claims of a world-wide anoxic interval. Nor has any substantial volcanic eruption or bolide impact left any marked traces in the sedimentary record.
5. As a consequence, some major groups such as Bryozoa and Conulariida (Staurozoa) survived the end- Permian extinction shock in the Southern Hemisphere.
6. Other major groups appear to have survived better in the south than in the north, notably, mollusc Bivalvia and Cephalopoda. It therefore appears likely that Triassic seas were restocked substantially from the Southern Hemisphere and that the Permian extinction shock was asymmetric with respect to latitudes in its distribution and affect.



Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, paleoecology






17 - 30


Elsevier BV


Amsterdam, The Netherlands







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2010, Elsevier B.V.