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The Extinction of the Conulariids

Authors
Publisher
Molecular Diversity Preservation International
Publication Date
Keywords
  • Conulariid
  • Extinction
  • Triassic
  • Peru
  • Mesozoic Marine Revolution

Abstract

Conulariids are unusual extinct metazoans most often considered to be a group of scyphozoan cnidarians or close relatives. Generally, the temporal range of conulariid fossils is perceived to be late Precambrian or Cambrian to Triassic, though a supposed Cretaceous conulariid from Peru was published 46 years ago. A re-evaluation of this fossil indicates it is not a conulariid, but instead a pinnacean bivalve (Pinna sp.), confirming that the geologically youngest conulariids are of Late Triassic age. However, a review of the Triassic conulariid fossil record indicates it is very sparse, with only eight published records. It does not provide a reliable basis for analyzing the structure of conulariid extinction. Nevertheless, conulariid extinction still appears to have taken place very close to the end of the Triassic. The cause of conulariid extinction may have been the onset of the Mesozoic marine revolution, in which durivorous predators developed new mechanisms for preying on the epifaunal benthos, including the conulariids.

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