Earliest Evolution Associated with Closure of the Tropical American Seaway
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Oceanographic changes caused by the emerging Central American isthmus, which completely severed connections between the Caribbean Sea and tropical Pacific Ocean about 3.5 million years ago, began to stimulate evolution of Caribbean reef corals and benthic foraminifera in the Late Miocene. At that time, first appearances of benthic foraminifera increased, especially those species strongly associated with carbonate-rich substrata; reef corals diversified dramatically; and the carbonate content of southern Caribbean deep-sea sediments increased. We suggest that the changes in marine environments caused by the constricting seaway and resulting in increasing carbonate content of sediments induced accelerated origination in reef corals and carbonate-associated benthic foraminifera.
Published Article/Book Citation
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 93:12 (1996) pp. 6069-6072.
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