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When the Invasion of Land FailedThe Legacy of the Devonian Extinctions$
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George McGhee,

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231160575

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231160575.001.0001

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The Legacy of the Devonian Extinctions

The Legacy of the Devonian Extinctions

(p.263) Chapter 8 The Legacy of the Devonian Extinctions
When the Invasion of Land Failed

George R. McGhee

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the impact of Devonian Extinction (End-Frasnian Catastrophe and End-Famennian Catastrophe) on the evolution of species. These catastrophes did not merely delay vertebrate evolution; they also altered the direction of vertebrate evolution. Tetrapods suffered a sharp reduction in their previously morphologically diverse forms. In particular, the diversity of sizes seen in Frasnian tetrapods was lost, as only the mid-sized forms survived the catastrophe to repopulate during the Famennian period. Also, many of the peculiar tetrapod groups of the Early Carboniferous period had abandoned dry land entirely and returned to water after the Tournaisian Gap—a gap in the fossil records between End-Famennian Catastrophe and Carboniferous period.

Keywords:   Devonian Extinction, End-Frasnian Catastrophe, End-Famennian Catastrophe, evolution, tetrapods, Carboniferous period

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