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Abundance of chondrichthyan genera through time

Cite this dataset

Perez, Victor (2021). Abundance of chondrichthyan genera through time [Dataset]. Dryad.


As of September 2019, the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) had a curated collection of 117,449 chondrichthyan specimens from Florida, spanning the Eocene through the Pleistocene. Herein, I evaluated the completeness of the chondrichthyan fossil record from Florida based on the FLMNH collection, while analyzing trends in taxonomic and ecomorphological diversity. At least 70 chondrichthyan taxa were recognized in the FLMNH collection, representing 10 orders, 26 families, and 42 genera; of which, 20 taxa represent first occurrences from Florida. A sample of 107,698 specimens was organized into 12 time bins to analyze taxonomic and ecomorphological diversity, with an expectation that diversity trends would correspond with global climate events (e.g., the Eocene-Oligocene Transition and the Middle Miocene Climatic Optimum). However, diversity trends were obscured by pervasive sampling bias, attributable to variable collection methods, research prioritizations, and regional lithologic controls. Sampling is particularly poor for smaller specimens and older geologic units (i.e., the Paleogene). Despite incomplete sampling of the Florida chondrichthyan fossil record, there was an apparent turnover along the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains from a lamniform to carcharhiniform dominated chondrichthyan fauna that occurred during the Eocene. This turnover corresponded with the extinction of many lamniform taxa with grasping-dominated dentition types (e.g., Brachycarcharias, Jaekelotodus, and Macrorhizodus). Selachian taxa that survived the late Eocene extinctions were predominantly represented by cutting-dominant dentition types. Since cutting aids in the dismemberment of prey, this may reflect a macroevolutionary trend among selachians towards active predation and scavenging on larger prey, such as marine mammals.