Abstract

Analyses of taxonomically standardized data sets demonstrate several statistically robust extinction patterns in Early Jurassic bivalve species from northwest Europe and the Andean basins of South America. In both regions, extinction intensities were significantly enhanced in late Pliensbachian and early Toarcian time as compared to all other time intervals. The same intervals (except for the early Toarcian of South America) also represent times of unusual extinction selectivity, with infaunal taxa suffering distinctly more than epifaunal forms. As infaunal suspension feeders are extremely rare components of Early Jurassic oxygen-controlled macrofaunas, these results are entirely compatible with sedimentological and geochemical data suggesting that widespread anoxia was a principal cause of the diversity crisis. Although many biotic traits that enhance survivorship during background times seem to be irrelevant during major mass extinctions, patterns of survivorship selectivity may provide more distinct clues to the causes of less severe mass extinctions.

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