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Paedomorphosis and the origin of the Paleogene planktonic foraminiferal genus Morozovella

  • D. Clay Kelly (a1), Anthony J. Arnold (a1) and William C. Parker (a1)

The evolutionary origin of Morozovella angulata from its immediate ancestor, Praemurica uncinata, is preserved in Paleocene sediments from the Gulf of Mexico. This event represents the beginning of the morozovellid radiation and marks the first appearance of keeled planktonic foraminifera after the Cretaceous/Tertiary extinction. Parallel biometric and isotopic analyses were performed on size-segregated specimens from a succession of stratigraphic horizons. The biometric data reveal a temporal pattern of variation consistent with paedomorphosis. The appearance of angulose juvenile chambers in the otherwise rounded ancestral form (Praemurica uncinata) results in an allometry that becomes more pronounced upsection. At the origin of M. angulata, the juvenile morphology of the ancestor is retained throughout the entire ontogeny. Isotopic analysis of this sequence reveals the gradual acquisition of an increasingly heavy adult δ13C signal relative to that of the juvenile, while the δ18O data display no temporal or size-related trends. The temporal increase seen in the slope of the δ13C/size relationship may reflect the evolution of an increased dependency on photosymbionts.

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