Sedimentological evidence suggests that sea-water chemistry has oscillated between ‘Aragonite’ and ‘Calcite’ seas during the course of Phanerozoic time. During ‘Calcite’ sea periods aragonite was soluble and dissolved on the sea-floor. Here we propose, using a survey of familial diversity, that during times of such corrosive seas bivalved molluscs which secreted their shells entirely of aragonite were at a selective disadvantage compared to those with calcitic outer shell layers. This is the first case in which it has been suggested that there was a dynamic link between sea-water chemistry and the evolution of a particular taxon throughout Phanerozoic time.
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