Paleobiological Perspectives on Early Eukaryotic Evolution
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CitationKnoll, Andrew H. 2014. Paleobiological Perspectives on Early Eukaryotic Evolution. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology 6, no. 1: a016121.
AbstractEukaryotic organisms radiated in Proterozoic oceans with oxygenated surface waters, but, commonly, anoxia at depth. Exceptionally preserved fossils of red algae favor crown group emergence more than 1200 million years ago, but older (up to 1600–1800 million years) microfossils could record stem group eukaryotes. Major eukaryotic diversification ∼800 million years ago is documented by the increase in the taxonomic richness of complex, organic-walled microfossils, including simple coenocytic and multicellular forms, as well as widespread tests comparable to those of extant testate amoebae and simple foraminiferans and diverse scales comparable to organic and siliceous scales formed today by protists in several clades. Mid-Neoproterozoic establishment or expansion of eukaryophagy provides a possible mechanism for accelerating eukaryotic diversification long after the origin of the domain. Protists continued to diversify along with animals in the more pervasively oxygenated oceans of the Phanerozoic Eon.
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