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Global Tectonics and the Fossil Record

James W. Valentine and Eldridge M. Moores
The Journal of Geology
Vol. 80, No. 2 (Mar., 1972), pp. 167-184
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30059313
Page Count: 18
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Global Tectonics and the Fossil Record
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Abstract

The theory of plate tectonics implies greatly different continental geographies in the past which can be reconstructed from a variety of geophysical, structural, petrologic, and stratigraphic evidence. Platetectonic processes affect relative sizes, the relative emergence, and the latitudinal and longitudinal patterns of continents. These factors affect the patterns of trophic-resource regimes in shallow marine water and also determine the patterns of provinciality of the shallow-water biota, and these patterns are probably chiefly responsible for the regulation of species diversity in shallow waters. The diversity patterns are partially the products of the adaptive strategies followed by populations in different resource regimes; high diversities correlate with stable regimes and low diversities with fluctuating regimes. The proportions of feeding types vary among types of regime also, resulting in qualitative differences in the faunas. Precam-brian and Cambrian radiations from which the higher invertebrate phyla developed may have been primarily adaptive responses to changes in trophic-resource regimes, brought about by changing land-sea natterns.

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