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Vertebrate extinctions and reorganizations during the Late Silurian Lau Event

  • Mats Eriksson
  • Eva K. Nilsson
  • Lennart Jeppsson
Publishing year: 2009
Language: English
Pages: 739-742
Publication/Series: Geology
Volume: 37
Issue: 8
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Geological Society of America

Abstract english

During the Silurian Period, as shown here by data from Gotland, Sweden, and other regions of the Baltoscandian paleocontinent, fish faunas were struck hard by extinctions caused by the late Ludlow Lau Event, also known for being associated with the largest positive stable carbon isotope excursion of the Phanerozoic. This event had a profound impact on the early evolutionary history of vertebrates, wiping out two-thirds of the fish taxa and causing significant ecological reorganizations over an estimated time span of similar to 200 ka. Our data show that immediately prior to the event, jawed acanthodians dominated the fish faunas, whereas the event led to a diverse fauna and a brief but marked dominance of the jawless thelodonts. The stepwise changes observed mimic those of conodonts, suggesting a similar mode of life and response to atmospheric oceanic perturbations for these clades.


  • Geology


  • ISSN: 0091-7613
Mats Eriksson
E-mail: mats [dot] eriksson [at] geol [dot] lu [dot] se


Lithosphere and Biosphere Science

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