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Phyletic gradualism in a Late Cenozoic planktonic foraminiferal lineage; DSDP Site 284, southwest Pacific

  • Björn A. Malmgren (a1) and James P. Kennett (a2)

Extract

Shape measurements have been made on planktonic foraminifera from a South Pacific Late Miocene to Recent temperate evolutionary lineage (Globorotalia conoidea through intermediate forms to G. inflata in DSDP Site 284). The sampling interval is about 0.1 Myr over nearly 8 Myr. Gradual evolution (phyletic gradualism) clearly occurs in all but one measured parameter. No clear evidence exists for abrupt evolutionary steps (punctuated equilibria) within the bioseries. If they occur, they are the exception rather than the rule. The number of chambers in the final whorl decreases almost linearly, despite known paleoceanographic oscillations within the temperate water mass. Mean size and apertural shape variations seem to correlate with paleoceanographic change. It is speculated that certain major morphological changes that took place within this evolutionary bioseries (i.e. loss of keel, rounding of periphery) developed in response to a major latest Miocene cooling, associated with instability in the water column and resulting adjustments of the test structure to water density changes. Changes exhibited in shape measurements may offer a precise method of stratigraphic correlation between temperate South Pacific Late Cenozoic sequences. Four species and two subspecies, long recognized to form the basis of this lineage, are redefined biometrically.

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References

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