Abstract

The development of a prominent Middle Devonian Eifelian and an Upper Devonian Frasnian ostracode faunal sequence of western Canada is used to trace their evolutionary pathways, to illustrate evolutionary dynamics, and to evaluate the most probable causes and implications of the major and minor changes, which are clearly expressed in two sets of charts. A connection between sedimentary transgressive–regressive and evolutionary cycles is evident and documented in sample-for-sample accounts. Major changes in sea level were the primary cause for the most obvious breaks and trends in the faunal sequences and were responsible for the cyclic development of both the sedimentary and ostracode records. In contrast, numerous subordinate faunal breaks impart a distinctly punctuated pattern to both extinction and speciation pathways. Their regular spacing point to rhythmic influences that are interpreted to reflect primarily temperature fluctuations to which ostracodes are known to react in direct and indirect ways. In turn, the periodicity of the changes falls within the time frame of the Milankovitch Effect or to any one, or a combination, of its three variables. By combining the overall cyclic development with the punctuated progression of both extinction and speciation events in an “event-stratigraphic chart,” a blueprint of the evolutionary dynamics emerges, which can be directly applied in sequence-stratigraphic reconstructions.

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