Data on the composition of benthic foraminiferal faunas at Deep Sea Drilling Project Site 575 in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean were combined with benthic and planktonic carbon- and oxygen-isotope records and CaCO3 data. Changes in the composition of the benthic foraminiferal faunas at Site 575 predated the middle Miocene period of growth of the Antarctic ice cap and cooling of the deep ocean waters by about 2 m.y., and thus were not caused by this cooling (as has been proposed). The benthic faunal changes may have been caused by increased variability in corrosivity of the bottom waters, possibly resulting from enhanced productivity in the surface waters.

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