Phylogenetic and Biogeographic Analysis of Sphaerexochine TrilobitesReportar como inadecuado

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Sphaerexochinae is a speciose and widely distributed group of cheirurid trilobites. Their temporal range extends from the earliest Ordovician through the Silurian, and they survived the end Ordovician mass extinction event the second largest mass extinction in Earth history. Prior to this study, the individual evolutionary relationships within the group had yet to be determined utilizing rigorous phylogenetic methods. Understanding these evolutionary relationships is important for producing a stable classification of the group, and will be useful in elucidating the effects the end Ordovician mass extinction had on the evolutionary and biogeographic history of the group.

Methodology-Principal Findings

Cladistic parsimony analysis of cheirurid trilobites assigned to the subfamily Sphaerexochinae was conducted to evaluate phylogenetic patterns and produce a hypothesis of relationship for the group. This study utilized the program TNT, and the analysis included thirty-one taxa and thirty-nine characters. The results of this analysis were then used in a Lieberman-modified Brooks Parsimony Analysis to analyze biogeographic patterns during the Ordovician-Silurian.


The genus Sphaerexochus was found to be monophyletic, consisting of two smaller clades one composed entirely of Ordovician species and another composed of Silurian and Ordovician species. By contrast, the genus Kawina was found to be paraphyletic. It is a basal grade that also contains taxa formerly assigned to Cydonocephalus. Phylogenetic patterns suggest Sphaerexochinae is a relatively distinctive trilobite clade because it appears to have been largely unaffected by the end Ordovician mass extinction. Finally, the biogeographic analysis yields two major conclusions about Sphaerexochus biogeography: Bohemia and Avalonia were close enough during the Silurian to exchange taxa; and during the Ordovician there was dispersal between Eastern Laurentia and the Yangtze block South China and between Eastern Laurentia and Avalonia.

Autor: Curtis R. Congreve , Bruce S. Lieberman



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