Abstract

The Ordovician radiation of marine life was among the most substantial pulses of diversification in Earth history and coincided in time with a major increase in the global level of orogenic activity. To investigate a possible causal link between these two patterns, the geographic distributions of 6576 individual appearances of Ordovician genera around the world were evaluated with respect to their proximity to probable centers of orogeny (foreland basins).Results indicate that these genera, which belonged to an array of higher taxa that diversified in the Middle and Late Ordovician (trilobites, brachiopods, bivalves, gastropods, monoplacophorans), were far more diverse in, and adjacent to, foreland basins than they were in areas farther removed from orogenic activity (carbonate platforms). This suggests an association of orogeny with diversification at that time.

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