Explaining the Cambrian Explosion of Animals
Charles Marshall
UC Berkeley
From: 11:00 AM To: 12:00 PM
Thursday, Mar 6, 2014
Burns Lecture Hall, Keck Science Center
The Cambrian “explosion” is a unique episode in Earth history, when essentially all the animal phyla first appear in the fossil record. A variety of environmental, developmental (genetic), and ecological explanations for this complex and somewhat protracted event will be reviewed. The increase in disparity (the origin of the phyla) is best understood as being the result of the interplay of the combinatorial bilateral developmental system and the increase in the number of needs the first bilaterians had to meet as complex ecological interactions developed. The time of onset is constrained by the evolution of the environment, whereas its duration appears to be controlled primarily by rates of developmental innovation. The uniqueness of the event is either due to ensuing developmental limitation, to ecological saturation, or simply to the exhaustion of ecologically viable morphologies that could be produced by the nascent bilaterian developmental system.
Seminar Registered by: Velda Yount


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