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Cambrian origin but no early burst in functional disparity for Class Bivalvia

Cite this dataset

Zhou, Sharon et al. (2023). Cambrian origin but no early burst in functional disparity for Class Bivalvia [Dataset]. Dryad.


Both the Cambrian Explosion, more than half a billion years ago, and its Ordovician aftermath some thirty-five million years later, are often framed as episodes of widespread ecological opportunity, but not all clades originating during this interval showed prolific rises in morphological or functional disparity. In a direct analysis of functional disparity, instead of the more commonly used proxy of morphological disparity, we find that ecological functions of Class Bivalvia arose concordantly with and even lagged behind taxonomic diversification, rather than the early-burst pattern expected for clades originating in supposedly open ecological landscapes. Unlike several other clades originating in the Cambrian Explosion, the bivalves' belated acquisition of key anatomical novelties imposed a macroevolutionary lag, and even when those novelties evolved in the Early Ordovician, functional disparity never surpassed taxonomic diversity. Beyond this early period of animal evolution, the founding and subsequent diversification of new major clades and their functions might be expected to follow the pattern of the early bivalves—one where interactions between highly dynamic environmental and biotic landscapes and evolutionary contingencies need not promote prolific functional innovation. 


National Science Foundation, Award: EAR-2049627

National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Award: NNX16AJ34G