Morphogenetic Versus Environmental Cues for Adaptive Radiations

  • P. W. Skelton


The linkage between adaptive divergence and taxonomic diversification is complex, but where a significant correlation of the taxonomic pattern with either an intrinsic (e.g. morphogenetic), or an environmental cue may be detected, an adaptive radiation may be identified as such. Both intrinsic and extrinsic factors are necessary for the radiation to occur, but in any given instance one can be shown to have been the effective cue, while the pre-existence of the other served as an enabling circumstance.

These relationships are illustrated with respect to the rudist bivalves of the Tethyan Cretaceous. The main radiation of the group was morphogenetically cued by the invagination of the ligament, which permitted uncoiled shell growth. Within that context, however, invasion of the recumbent adaptive zone, in two discrete phases (Aptian-Cenomanian and Campanian-Maastrichtian) was evidently environmentally cued. The adaptive radiation of the group thus shows a hierarchical pattern, with morphogenetic and environmental cues alternating at different levels.


Mass Extinction Adaptive Radiation Shell Growth Ventral Valve Left Valve 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. W. Skelton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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