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Sex in the Caribbean: Environmental change drives evolutionary change -- eventually
Date:7/28/2009

idly disappeared from the record as the Caribbean was isolated. Species that survived did so by becoming increasingly robust to reduce the chances of fragmentation while those that failed to evolve went extinct. They are still found in the nutrient-rich eastern Pacific.

But not everyone agreed that the extinctions which occurred 1-2 million years later in the Caribbean were caused by the formation of the Isthmusa pattern also seen in corals and molluscs. Now these authors have the evidence to be sure.

"It's important to distinguish between ecological extinctionwhen these organisms stopped being important players in the gameand actual extinction, when they disappeared from the geological record," said Jackson. "The idea that extinction may be delayed by millions of years after the cause is worrisome. Today an overwhelming number of species are being reduced in abundance. The forecast from the fossil record is that even if they survive now, the ultimate cause of their extinction may already have passed us by."

This report appears in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B online.


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Contact: Beth King
kingb@si.edu
703-787-3770 x8216
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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