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Tetlie, 2007

Distribution and dispersal history of Eurypterida (Chelicerata)

Tetlie, O. E.
AjakiriPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Tüüpartikkel ajakirjas


The distribution and dispersal histories of Eurypterida are examined in a phylogenetic and palaeogeographic context. It is suggested that all the eurypterid clades originated and had most of their evolutionary history on the palaeocontinents of Laurentia, Baltica, Avalonia, the Rheno–Hercynian Terrane and some presence in Siberia. The Siluro–Devonian Stylonurina and the eurypterine superfamilies Eurypteroidea and Waeringopteroidea are confined in their entirety to these continents. The Late Palaeozoic records of Adelophthalmoidea and Hibbertopteroidea in China, South America and Africa can be explained by ‘rafting’ on the continental plates that amalgamated into the supercontinent Pangaea. However, two clades have distributions that suggest abilities to cross open stretches of ocean; the Silurian and Devonian pterygotoids and some Devonian adelophthalmoids. However, one Silurian mixopteroid and the basal swimming form Onychopterella outside the ‘core-area’ suggest the dispersal patterns are more complicated. The pterygotoids might be the only clade whose members frequently undertook oceanic excursions. Since almost all eurypterid evolution took place in Laurentia, Baltica and Avalonia (and some in the Early Devonian of the Rheno–Hercynian Terrane) prior to the Carboniferous, it is unlikely that many taxonomically rich pre-Carboniferous eurypterid faunas will be encountered outside of these palaeocontinents.

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