Ancient origin of the modern deep-sea fauna

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doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046913
Author(s): Thuy, Ben; Gale, Andy S.; Kroh, Andreas; Kucera, Michal; Numberger-Thuy, Lea D.; Reich, Mike; Stohr, Sabine
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
University of Göttingen, Department of Geobiology, Gottingen, Germany
University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Natural History Museum Vienna, Austria
University of Bremen, Germany
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Sweden
Volume Title: PloS One
Source: PloS One, 2012(E46913). Publisher: Public Library of Science, San Francisco, CA, United States. ISSN: 1932-6203
Note: In English. 51 refs.; illus., incl. 2 tables
Summary: The origin and possible antiquity of the spectacularly diverse modern deep-sea fauna has been debated since the beginning of deep-sea research in the mid-nineteenth century. Recent hypotheses, based on biogeographic patterns and molecular clock estimates, support a latest Mesozoic or early Cenozoic date for the origin of key groups of the present deep-sea fauna (echinoids, octopods). This relatively young age is consistent with hypotheses that argue for extensive extinction during Jurassic and Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Events (OAEs) and the mid-Cenozoic cooling of deep-water masses, implying repeated re-colonization by immigration of taxa from shallow-water habitats. Here we report on a well-preserved echinoderm assemblage from deep-sea (1000-1500 m paleodepth) sediments of the NE-Atlantic of Early Cretaceous age (114 Ma). The assemblage is strikingly similar to that of extant bathyal echinoderm communities in composition, including families and genera found exclusively in modern deep-sea habitats. A number of taxa found in the assemblage have no fossil record at shelf depths postdating the assemblage, which precludes the possibility of deep-sea recolonization from shallow habitats following episodic extinction at least for those groups. Our discovery provides the first key fossil evidence that a significant part of the modern deep-sea fauna is considerably older than previously assumed. As a consequence, most major paleoceanographic events had far less impact on the diversity of deep-sea faunas than has been implied. It also suggests that deep-sea biota are more resilient to extinction events than shallow-water forms, and that the unusual deep-sea environment, indeed, provides evolutionary stability which is very rarely punctuated on macroevolutionary time scales.
Year of Publication: 2012
Research Program: ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 10 Paleontology, Invertebrate; Asteroidea; Asterozoa; Atlantic Ocean; Biodiversity; Biologic evolution; Blake Nose; Blake Plateau; Cretaceous; Crinoidea; Crinozoa; Deep-sea environment; Echinodermata; Echinoidea; Echinozoa; Faunal studies; Holothuroidea; Invertebrata; Leg 171B; Lower Cretaceous; Marine environment; Mass extinctions; Mesozoic; Morphology; North Atlantic; ODP Site 1049; Ocean Drilling Program; Ophiuroidea; Paleoecology; Paleoenvironment; Quantitative analysis; Stelleroidea
Coordinates: N300832 N300832 W0760644 W0760644
Record ID: 2013017864
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