Strontium isotope stratigraphy of Cretaceous hippuritid rudist bivalves: Rates of morphological change and heterochronic evolution

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Strontium isotope stratigraphy of 17 localities of rudist formations in the region of the former Mediterranean Tethys has provided a reliable and precise stratigraphical frame for the evaluation of morphological change in hippuritid rudist bivalves during the Coniacian-Campanian. The phyletic lineage Vaccinites cornuvaccinum (Bronn)-Vaccinites chaperi (Douvillé) evolved from the Early Coniacian until the Early Campanian and is characterized by phyletic size increase and allometric growth, as shown by morphometrical measurements of 102 shells. These chronospecies intergrade in the Late Coniacian so that V. cornuvaccinum is considered to be a reliable marker species for the Coniacian. The taxonomy of Vaccinites alpinus (Douvillé) is discussed and the species is recognized as a senior synonym of Vaccinites ultimus (Milovanović). It appears first in the Late Santonian and the last appearance is probably in Late Campanian. Both lineages are characterized by phyletic size increase and peramorphic evolution involving hypermorphosis. A doubling of the length of the mantle margin occurred within 5 m.y. in both lineages. The results demonstrate that the combination of morphometric analyses and stratigraphical precision provides an important tool for the delineation of tempo and mode of evolution in rudist bivalves. Strontium isotope stratigraphy resulted in a considerable revision of the ranges of the species investigated. As the stratigraphy of many Tethyan carbonate platforms relies on the distribution of rudist bivalves, and the species investigated are abundant in many rudist formations, the history of many Late Cretaceous carbonate platforms must be re-evaluated.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)221-243
Number of pages23
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2003


  • Chronospecies
  • Heterochrony
  • Hippuritid rudist bivalves
  • Phyletic size increase
  • Strontium isotope stratigraphy
  • Upper Cretaceous


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