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Ammonites on the Brink of Extinction

DWhatley

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Ammonites on the Brink of Extinction: Diversity, Abundance, and Ecology of the Order Ammonoidea at the Cretaceous/Paleogene (K/Pg) Boundary 2015 (subscription)

Study of ammonite population just prior to the K/Pg asteroid event

Abstract
We examined the stratigraphic distribution of ammonites at a total of 29 sites around the world in the last 0.5 myr of the Maastrichtian. We demarcated this interval using biostratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy, cyclostratigraphy, and data on fossil occurrences in relation to the K/Pg boundary in sections without any facies change between the highest ammonites and the K/Pg boundary. The ammonites at this time represent all four Mesozoic suborders comprising six superfamilies, 31 (sub)genera, and 57 species. The distribution of ammonites is dependent on the environmental setting. Recent data suggest that ammonites persisted to the boundary and some species may have survived for several tens of thousands of years into the Paleogene. The best explanation for ammonite extinction is a brief episode of ocean acidification immediately following the Chixculub impact, which caused the decimation of the calcareous plankton including the planktic post-hatching stages of ammonites. The geographic distribution of ammonites may also have played a role in the events with more broadly distributed genera being more resistant to extinction.
 
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