Global Permian brachiopod biostratigraphy: an overview
Establishing a Permian brachiopod biochronological scheme for global correlation is difficult because of strong provincialism during the Permian. In this paper, a brief overview of brachiopod successions in five major palaeobiogeographical realms/zones is provided. For Gondwanaland and peri-Gondwanan regions including Cimmerian blocks, Bandoproductus and Punctocyrtella (or Cyrtella) are characteristic of the lower Cisuralian, as is Cimmeriella for the middle Cisuralian. As the Cimmerian blocks continued drifting north during the late Kungurian, accompanied by climate amelioration, contemporaneous brachiopods inhabiting these blocks showed a distinct shift from cold-water to mixed or warm-water affinities. However, coeval brachiopods in the Northern Transitional Zone (NTZ) are characterized by warm-water faunas and are associated with fusulinids in the lower Cisuralian. The Guadalupian brachiopods of the NTZ were clearly mixed between the Boreal and palaeoequatorial affinities. The end-Guadalupian is marked by the disappearance of a few characteristic genera, such as Vediproductus, Neoplicatifera and Urushtenoidea, in the Palaeotethyan region. The onset of the end-Permian mass extinction in the latest Changhsingian is clearly exhibited by the occurrence of the dwarfed and thin-shelled brachiopods commonly containing Paracrurithyris.
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The Palaeozoic Era ends with the c. 47-million-year-long Permian Period. This was a major juncture in Earth history when the vast Pangean supercontinent continued its assembly and the global biota suffered the most extensive biotic decimation of the Phanerozoic, the end-Permian mass extinction. It was also the time of accumulation of vast mineral and energy deposits, notably of salt and petroleum. The temporal ordering of geological and biotic events during Permian time is, therefore, critical to the interpretation of some unique and pivotal events in Earth history. This temporal ordering is based mostly on the Permian timescale, which has been developed and refined for nearly two centuries. This book reviews the history of the development of the Permian chronostratigraphic scale. It also includes comprehensive analyses of Permian radioisotopic ages, magnetostratigraphy, isotope-based correlations, and timescale-relevant marine and non-marine biostratigraphy and biochronology.