Saturday, January 10, 2015

500 million year paleobiogeography. How much is geofantasy and what is applicable today?

The tectonic reconstruction of Pangaea (300-200mya) is understood and well documented, but what happens when we trek back further into deep time?

Thomas Servais explained that the paleobiodiversity provinces and hotspots of Ordovician (450mya) brachiopods have been reconstructed and he can track the 30 million year, pole to equator spread of the ancient genus Veryhachium, which is related to modern dinoflagellates and can still be found today. Such reconstructions give us a glimpse of what life and its dynamics, which at this time was confined largely to the marine world, would have looked like. Future work will relate to locating Orovician biodiversity hotspots and understanding how provinces of the organisms correlated and evolved. 
Thomas frequently referred to the book “Early Paleozoic Biogeography and Palaeogeography” (eds: D. A. T. Harper and T. Servais, publisher: Geological Society of London, 2013; as a good resource which we can use the past to analyse the functioning of present biogeographical settings.

Veryhachium sp. From the Ordovician to the Present.
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