Abstract

Over the past 75 years, the higher-level taxonomy of bivalves has received less attention than that of their fellow molluscs, gastropods. The publication of the bivalve volumes of the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology in 1969 was not followed by an explosion of study into the evolution of bivalves; rather, with only one or two exceptions, bivalve workers were noticeably absent from the cladistic and molecular revolutions that were taking place during the 1970s and 1980s, even as gastropods received considerable attention. Over the past ten years, cladistics and molecular systematics have begun to be applied to solve problems of bivalve evolutionary biology. These studies, most of which have been undertaken by paleontologists, have halted the stagnation in bivalve systematics. Bivalve systematics looks to have an exciting future, as the excellent fossil record of the Bivalvia will be used in conjunction with cladistics and molecular systematics to solve problems in not just bivalve evolution but evolutionary biology in general.

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