The Elements of Evolution (12-2) Bottom Up

Bottom Up

A fossil deep-sea assemblage of echinoderms, gastropods, brachiopods and ostracods played a much greater role in shaping modern deep-sea biodiversity than previously thought. ~ biologist Ben Thuy et al

Evolutionary biologists long thought the ocean floor a domain of exile: the place of relegation to species unsuccessful in the intense competition of shallow water. Instead, this is topsy-turvy to marine evolution. The benthic ocean has been a hotbed of adaptation for the species that do not rely upon photosynthetic algae in the food chain. The nursery for modern sea stars, sea urchins, snails, sea lilies, and other deep-sea creatures was the ocean floor.

Deep-sea biota are more resilient to extinction events than shallow-water forms, and the unusual deep-sea environment provides evolutionary stability which is very rarely punctuated on macroevolutionary time scales. ~ Ben Thuy et al