Evolution & Extinction /
Focussed on the Fossil Record
Web Sites about Evolution
Evolution Sciences versus Doctrines of Creationism and Intelligent Design
Web Sites about Mass Extinctions
The Mass Extinction at the End of the Permian
Biotic Recovery from the Permian-Triassic Mass Extinction
The Mass Extinction at the End of the Triassic
! Teaching Documents about Palaeontology and Palaeoecology@
! Teaching Documents about Stratigraphy and Historical Geology@
! Geologic Time Scale@
! Teaching Documents about Evolution@
! Parasitic Plants@
The Gaia Hypothesis@
Databases focused on Palaeobotany and Palaeontology@
Glossaries, Dictionaries and Encyclopedias: Palaeontology@
J. Alroy et al. (2001): Effects of sampling standardization on estimates of Phanerozoic marine diversification. In PDF, PNAS, 98: 6261-6266.
! Anna K. Behrensmeyer (1992; Google books): Terrestrial ecosystems through time.
M. J. Benton et al. (2014): Review Models for the Rise of the Dinosaurs. In PDF, Current Biology 24. See also here.
Michael J. Benton (2010): The origins of modern biodiversity on land. In PDF, Transactions of the Royal Society, B.
! M.J. Benton (2010):
Function and Behavior in the Fossil Record.
PDF file, PLoS Biology, 8: 1-5.
See also here.
! M.J. Benton et al. (2009): Calibrating and constraining the molecular clock. PDF file, In: S.B. Hedges and S. Kumar (eds.): The Timetree of Life (see here).
M.J. Benton and B.C. Emerson (2007): How did life become so diverse? The dynamics of diversification according to the fossil record and molecular phylogenetics. PDF file, Palaeontology, 50: 23-40.
! M.J. Benton and P.C.J. Donoghue (2007): Paleontological Evidence to Date the Tree of Life. In PDF. See also here. Molecular biology and evolution.
Michael Benton, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, UK: Accuracy of Fossils and Dating Methods (an ActionBioscience.org original interview, American Institute of Biological Sciences).
Michael J. Benton (2001): Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol: Biodiversity on land and in the sea. PDF file, Geological Journal 36, 211-230.
M.J. Benton and D.A.T. Harper:
Introduction to Paleobiology and the Fossil Record. Go to:
! Figures. On this website you can download the figures in jpeg format at standard resolution (96 dpi) for viewing on screen and at a higher resolution (300 dpi) for downloading. They can also be downloaded as a Powerpoint file for each chapter.
M.J. Benton and P.N. Pearson (2001): Speciation in the fossil record. PDF file, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 16.
M.J. BENTON, M.A. WILLS, and R. HITCHIN, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol: Quality of the fossil record through time. Nature 403, 534 - 537 (2000).
! Museum of Paleontology (UCMP), University of California, Berkeley (sponsored in part by Shell Offshore Inc.): Learning from the Fossil Record. This is a hypertext version of a book originally published by the Paleontological Society.
University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley: Explorations Through Time. A series of interactive modules (curriculum and classroom resources) that explore the history of life on Earth, while focusing on the processes of science. Each module contains suggested lesson plans and an extensive teacher’s guide.
B. Blonder et al. (2014): Plant Ecological Strategies Shift Across the Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary. In PDF, PLoS Biol, 12.
! M.D. Brasier et al. (2016): Changing the picture of Earth´s earliest fossils (3.5–1.9 Ga) with new approaches and new discoveries. PNAS, 112: 4859-4864. See also here (in PDF).
M. Brasier (2015): Deep questions about the nature of early-life signals: a commentary on Lister (1673) "A description of certain stones figured like plants". In PDF, Phil. Trans. R. Soc., A 373. See also here.
Brent H. Breithaupt (1992): The use of fossils in interpreting past environments. PDF file, Pages 147–158, in: Tested studies for laboratory teaching, Volume 13 (C. A. Goldman, Editor). Proceedings of the 13th Workshop/Conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education.
J.C. Briggs (2014): Invasions, adaptive radiations, and the generation of biodiversity. In PDF, Environmental Skeptics and Critics, 3: 8-16.
L.A. Buatois et al. (2016): Mesozoic Lacustrine Revolution. Abstract, pp 179-263. In: The Trace-Fossil Record of Major Evolutionary Events, Volume 40 of the series Topics in Geobiology.
Graham E. Budd (2008): The earliest fossil record of the animals and its significance. PDF file, Phil. Trans. R. Soc., B, 363, 1425-1434.
R.J. Burnham (2008): Hide and Go Seek What Does Presence Mean in the Fossil Record. In PDF, Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden.
E. Callaway (2015): Computers read the fossil record. Palaeontologists hope that software can construct fossil databases directly from research papers. In PDF, Nature Toolbox. See also here.
B. Cascales-Miñana and C.J. Cleal (2012): Plant fossil record and survival analyses. In PDF, Lethaia, 45. See also here (abstract).
! B. Cascales-Miñana and C.J. Cleal (2013): The plant fossil record reflects just two great extinction events. Abstract.
B. Cascales-Miñana and J.B. Diez (2012): The effect of singletons and interval length on interpreting diversity trends from the palaeobotanical record. In PDF, Palaeontologia Electronica.
! J.T. Clarke et al. (2011): Establishing a time-scale for plant evolution. PDF file, New Phytologist. See also here.
J.L. Cloudsley-Thompson (2005): Ecology and Behaviour of Mesozoic Reptiles, The Mesozoic Environment. In PDF. See also here,
J.C. Coates et al. (2011): Plants and the Earth system - past events and future challenges. In PDF, New Phytologist, 89: 370-373.
E.J. Chaisson (2014): The Natural Science Underlying Big History. In PDF, The Scientific World Journal.
! Matthew Cobb, whyevolutionistrue: Excellent open access articles on the evolution of life on Earth - UPDATE 2.
! Committee on the Geologic Record of Biosphere Dynamics, National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences (The National Academies Press): The Geological Record of Ecological Dynamics: Understanding the Biotic Effects of Future Environmental Change. 216 pages, 2005. Produced by a committee consisting of both ecologists and paleontologists, the report provides ecologists with background on techniques for obtaining and evaluating geohistorical information, and provides paleontologists with background on the nature of ecological phenomena amenable to analysis in the geological record. The report can be read online for free!
! F.L. Condamine et al. (2013): Macroevolutionary perspectives to environmental change. In PDF, Ecology letters.
! Richard Cowen (web pages were first created by D.J. Eernisse for Biology 404: Evolution at CSUF): History of Life (4th Edition, 2005), Web Links by Chapter. This expired link is available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.
Richard Cowen, Department of Geology, University of California, Davis, CA: History of Life, Third Edition. Go to: Preservation and Bias in the Fossil Record.
O. De Clerck et al. (2012): Diversity and Evolution of Algae: Primary Endosymbiosis. In PDF, Advances in Botanical Research, 64.
Susan De Wolf (2010): Mass Evolution Events. PDF file, Harvard Science Review.
! William A. DiMichele et al. (2008): The so-called "Paleophytic-Mesophytic" transition in equatorial Pangea. Multiple biomes and vegetational tracking of climate change through geological time. PDF file, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 268: 152-163. See also here (abstract).
W.A. DiMichele et al. (2004): Long-term stasis in ecological assemblages: evidence from the fossil record. PDF file, Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst., 35: 285-322. This expired link is available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.
R. Dirzo and P.H. Raven (2003): Global state of biodiversity and loss. In PDF, Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour., 28.
! P.C.J. Donoghue and M.J. Benton (2007): Rocks and clocks: calibrating the Tree of Life using fossils and molecules. In PDF, Trends in Ecology and Evolution.
A. Dornburg et al. (2011): Integrating Fossil Preservation Biases in the Selection of Calibrations for Molecular Divergence Time Estimation. PDF file, Syst. Biol., 60: 519-527.
A.M. Dunhill et al. (2016): Dinosaur biogeographical structure and Mesozoic continental fragmentation: a network-based approach. In PDF, Journal of Biogeography.
G. Escarguel et al. (2011): Biodiversity is not (and never has been) a bed of roses! In PDF, Comptes Rendus Biologies.
A.G. Fischer et al. (2004): Cyclostratigraphic approach to Earths history: An introduction. In PDF.
M. Foote and D.M. Raup (2010): Fossil preservation and the stratigraphic ranges of taxa. In PDF, Paleobiology, 22: 121-140.
Canopy Dynamics Lab, School of Environmental and Forest Resources,
University of Washington, Seattle, WA:
! Biol220 TAs. Botany lecture notes (Powerpoint presentations). See especially:
The Importance of Plants, their origins and ways of life.
Plant evolution timeline on Powerpoint slide 11, 18 and 22!
! Stephen Jay Gould Archive (sponsored by Art Science Research Laboratory):
Harvard Course, B16: History of Earth and Life (kittenish website, difficult to set a link). Go to:
Lab 1: The Invertebrate Phyla,
Lab 2: The Fossil Record,
Lab 3: Communities through Time, and
Lab 4: Variation and Evolution (PDF files). See also:
B16: History of Earth and Life, Source Books.
S.R. Gradstein and H. Kerp (2012): A Brief History of Plants on Earth. Google books, The Geologic Time Scale 2012. See also here (Table of contents, Elsevier).
! J.B. Hedges (2004): A molecular timescale of eukaryote evolution and the rise of complex multicellular life. BMC evolutionary biology.
! S.B. Hedges (2009): Life. PDF file, In: S.B. Hedges and S. Kumar (eds.): The Timetree of Life (see here).
D. Jablonski and N.H. Shubin (2015): The future of the fossil record: Paleontology in the 21st century. In PDF, PNAS, see also here.
M. Kearney (2002): Fragmentary taxa, missing data, and ambiguity: mistaken assumptions and conclusions. PDF file, Systematic biology, 51: 369-381.
S.B. Hedges and S. Kumar (2009): Discovering the Timetree of Life. PDF file, (see here).
! D. Jablonski (2007): Scale and hierarchy in macroevolution. PDF file, Palaeontology, 50: 87-109.
D. Jablonski (2008): Biotic interactions and macroevolution: extensions and mismatches across scales and levels. PDF file, Evolution, 62: 715-739.
David Jablonski, Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago (hosted by aics research, inc., Lecture of the Week, Lectures and Conferences recorded in QCShow format): Part I: Planetary-scale Patterns; The Dynamics of Global Biodiversity: Insights from the Fossil Record. Lecture, 35 min., requires QCShow Player. Snapshot taken by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.
David Jablonski, Committee on Evolutionary Biology, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Chicago: The interplay of physical and biotic factors in macroevolution. PDF file, In: A. Lister and L. Rothschild, eds., Evolution on Planet Earth: The impact of the physical environment. New York: Academic Press, 235-252; 2003.
Jeremy B.C. Jackson and Douglas H. Erwin (2006) What can we learn about ecology and evolution from the fossil record? PDF file, Trends in Ecology and Evolution.
J.B.C. Jackson and K.G. Johnson (2001): Measuring Past Biodiversity. In PDF, Science, 293.
Daniel Jeffares and Anthony Poole (an ActionBioscience.org original article): Were Bacteria the First Forms of Life on Earth? Human cells can reveal evolutionary history because they contain molecular fossils, exhibit mechanisms that were in development when life began, and indicate that ancient organisms may be more complex than first thought.
J.A. Karr and M.E. Clapham (2015): Taphonomic biases in the insect fossil record: shifts in articulation over geologic time. In PDF, Paleobiology.
J.F. Kasting and J.L. Siefert (2002): Life and the evolution of Earth´s atmosphere. In PDF, Science.
! M. Alan Kazlev et al.: Palaeos. A website about the history of life on Earth. Snapshot taken by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine. Go to: Earth History.
B.P. Kear et al. (2016): An introduction to the Mesozoic biotas of Scandinavia and its Arctic territories. In PDF.
! P. Kenrick et al. (2012): A timeline for terrestrialization: consequences for the carbon cycle in the Palaeozoic. In PDF, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 367: 519-536.
! Susan M. Kidwell and Steven M. Holland (2002): The Quality of the Fossil Record: Implications for Evolutionary Analyses. PDF file, Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst., 33: 561-588.
Susan M. Kidwell and Karl W. Flessa: THE QUALITY OF THE FOSSIL RECORD: Populations, Species, and Communities.- Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 1996 24: 433-464. Full Online Access via Annual Reviews, Go to Annual Reviews Search Page (Biomedical Sciences), Search for "Kidwell" (Field Author, Last Name).
! A.H. Knoll (2013): Systems Paleobiology. In PDF, Geological Society of America Bulletin, 125. About paleobiology and its important role in understanding how the Earth system works.
M. Kowalewski and R.K. Bambach (2008): The limits of paleontological resolution. In PDF, High-resolution approaches in stratigraphic paleontology. This expired link is available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.
! C.C. Labandeira and J.J. Sepkoski (1993): Insect diversity in the fossil record. PDF file, Science.
J. Laurie et al. (2009): Living Australia (in PDF). Earth history in Australia.
! Michel Laurin (2012): Recent progress in paleontological methods for dating the Tree of Life. In PDF, Frontiers in Genetics, 3.
T.M. Lenton et al. (2016): Earliest land plants created modern levels of atmospheric oxygen. In PDF, PNAS.
Harold L. Levin, Washington University, St. Louis: The Earth Through Time. Book announcement. Go to: Seventh Edition, Chapter 12, Life of the Mesozoic. Website by Pamela J. W. Gore, Georgia Perimeter College, Clarkston, GA.
! C.V. Looy et al. (2014): The late Paleozoic ecological-evolutionary laboratory, a land-plant fossil record perspective. In PDF, The Sedimentary Record, 12: 4-18. See also here.
A.O. Marron et al. (2016): The Evolution of Silicon Transport in Eukaryotes. In PDF, Mol. Biol. Evol. See also here.
P.J. Mayhew et al. (2008): A long-term association between global temperature and biodiversity, origination and extinction in the fossil record. In PDF, Proc Biol Sci., 275: 47-53.
G.R. McGhee et al. (2013): A new ecological-severity ranking of major Phanerozoic biodiversity crises. In PDF, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 370: 260-270.
S. McLoughlin and B.P. Kear (2014): Gondwanan Mesozoic biotas and bioevents. Abstract.
Space Physics Research Laboratory, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor: GLOBAL CHANGE I. The University of Michigan's Global Change Curriculum offers an innovative approach in undergraduate science and social science education as part of the Program in the Environment. In three interdisciplinary, team-taught courses the topic of Global Change from physical and human perspectives are examined. The courses are aimed at first and second year students who want to understand the historical and modern aspects of Global Change. Go to: Emergence of Complex Life; The Fossil Record; Punctuated Equilibrium (Allan).
H. Morlon et al. (2011): Reconciling molecular phylogenies with the fossil record. In PDF, PNAS, 108: 16327-16332.
S.J. Mojzsis et al. (1996): Evidence for life on Earth before 3,800 million years ago. In PDF, Nature, 384.
J. Murienne et al. (2015): A living fossil tale of Pangaean biogeography. In PDF, Proc. R. Soc. B, 281. See also here.
! NATURE, Nature Debates: Andrew Smith, Department of Palaeontology, the Natural History Museum, London: Is the fossil record adequate? This debate introduces the topic and the conflicting viewpoints that surround it.
Henry Alleyne Nicholson (! 1876): The Ancient Life History of the Earth. A Project Gutenberg EBook. Including some line drawings of plants.
! K.J. Niklas (2015): Measuring the tempo of plant death and birth. In PDF, New Phytologist.
! L.R. Novick et al. Depicting the tree of life in museums: guiding principles from psychological research. In PDF, see also here.
! Wolfgang Oschmann, Department of Geoscience, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany: The Evolution of the Atmosphere of our Planet Earth. In PDF. About the the origin of earth and the early atmosphere, the role of biosphere and the carbon-cycle and the atmospheric evolution through time.
W. Oschmann (2006): Evolution und Sterben der Dinosaurier. In PDF, Nova Acta Leopoldina NF 93, 345, 117-143. PDF file, in German.
Department of Earth Sciences,
the evidence for Earth's oldest fossils.
Now provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.
The Fossil Calibration Database is a curated collection of well-justified calibrations.
They also promote best practices for justifying fossil calibrations and citing calibrations
properly. Raising the Standard in Fossil Calibration! See also:
D.T. Ksepka et al. (2015): The Fossil Calibration Database, A New Resource for Divergence Dating. Abstract, Systematic Biology.
J.F. Parham et al. (2012): Best Practices for Justifying Fossil Calibrations. In PDF, Syst Biol., 61: 346-359. See also here (abstract).
M.W. Pennell et al. (2014): Is there room for punctuated equilibrium in macroevolution? Trends in ecology & evolution, 29.
! Alex L. Pigot et al. (2012): Speciation and Extinction Drive the Appearance of Directional Range Size Evolution in Phylogenies and the Fossil Record. In PDF.
John Pojeta and Dale A. Springer, American Geological Institute AGI, (in cooperation with the Paleontological Society): Evolution and the Fossil Record. This non-technical introduction to evolution aims to help the general public gain a better understanding of one of the fundamental underlying concepts of modern science. Discussion topics are geologic time; change through time; Darwin's theory of evolution; evolution as a mechanism for change; the nature of species; the nature of theory; paleontology, geology, and evolution; and determining the age of fossils and rocks. The Online booklet contains straightforward definitions as well as discussions of complex ideas. Navigate using the left-hand toolbar. There is also a PDF printable version available.
P David Polly, Department of Geological Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN:
Historical Geology. Life through time.
Lecture notes. Topics are paleontology, geologic time, biological evolution,
plate tectonics, ancient environments, and climate change,
principles of interpreting earth history from geological data, etc. Go to:
Lecture 15: Paleobiology, and Lecture 21: Mesozoic 2: Terrestrial environments and extinction. Lecture slides (PDF files).
T.B. Quental, C.R. Marshall (2010): Diversity dynamics: molecular phylogenies need the fossil record. In PDF, Trends in Ecology & Evolution.
R.R. Reisz and J. Müller (2004): Molecular timescales and the fossil record: a paleontological perspective. In PDF, Trends in Genetics.
Joachim Reitner, Yang Qun, Wang Yongdong and Mike Reich (eds., 2013): Palaeobiology and Geobiology of Fossil Lagerstätten through Earth History. In PDF, See also here. Abstract Volume. A Joint Conference of the "Paläontologische Gesellschaft" and the "Palaeontological Society of China", Göttingen, Germany, September 23-27, 2013. See also there.
G.J. Retallack (2013):
life on land. In PDF,
Nature, 493: 89–92.
See also here (Spaceref), and there Xiao et al. (2014).
! R.A. Rohde and R.A. Muller (2005): Cycles in Fossil Diversity. In PDF, Nature, 434, 208-210. See also here and there (abstract).
! B.R. Ruhfel et al. (2014): From algae to angiosperms - inferring the phylogeny of green plants (Viridiplantae) from 360 plastid genomes. In PDF, BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14. See also here.
J. Rust (2007): Die Bedeutung von Fossilien für phylogenetische Rekonstruktionen. In German (PDF file). Go to PDF page 75. In: Species, Phylogeny and Evolution, Phylogenetisches Symposium Göttingen. Snapshot taken by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.
H. Schneider (2007): Plant morphology as the cornerstone to the integration of fossil and extant taxa in phylogenetic systematics. In PDF, go to PDF page 65. In: Species, Phylogeny and Evolution, Phylogenetisches Symposium Göttingen. Snapshot taken by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.
J. William Schopf, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, the Molecular Biology Institute, and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP) University of California, Los Angeles: Cradle of Life: The Discovery of Earth's Earliest Fossils (Princeton University Press). Book announcement, including table of contents and chapter "Darwin´s Dilemma - Breakthrough to the Ancient Past". See also: Oldies but Goodies? (by Adam J.R. Kent, Geotimes, Highlights 2003, Geochemistry), and Just pure chemistry? (by Dagmar Röhrlich, Deutschlandfunk). New discussions about the oldest fossils (in German).
! A.W.R. Seddon et al. (2014): Looking forward through the past: identification of 50 priority research questions in palaeoecology. In PDF, Journal of Ecology, 102: 256-267. See also here.
P.A. Selden (2016):
Animals, Origins of. In PDF.
In: Kliman, R. M. (ed.):
Encyclopedia of evolutionary biology. Volume 2: 288-295. Oxford, Academic Press.
About the colonization of the land habitat from the sea by plants and animals.
M.-A. Selosse et al. (2015): Plants, fungi and oomycetes: a 400-million year affair that shapes the biosphere. New Phytologist. 10th New Phytologist Workshop on the "Origin and evolution of plants and their interactions with fungi", London, UK, September 2014.
G.R. Shi and J.B. Waterhouse (2010): Late Palaeozoic global changes affecting high-latitude environments and biotas: an introduction. Abstract, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 298: 1-16. See also here (in PDF).
! P.W. Signor III and J.H. Lipps (1982): Sampling bias, gradual extinction patterns and catastrophes in the fossil record. In PDF, Geological Society of America. This expired link is available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.
! D. Silvestro et al. (2015): Revisiting the origin and diversification of vascular plants through a comprehensive Bayesian analysis of the fossil record. In PDF, New Phytologist, 207: 425-436.
! E. Strickson et al. (2016): Dynamics of dental evolution in ornithopod dinosaurs. In PDF, Scientific Reports, 6. See also here (abstract).
C. Strullu-Derrien (2014): The earliest wood and its hydraulic properties documented in c. 407-million-year-old fossils using synchrotron microtomography. Abstract, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 175: 423-437.
Der Tagesspiegel: Anthropozän - Fallout und Plastik markieren das Menschenzeitalter. In German, Ralf Nestler, May 01, 2015.
T.N. Taylor et al. (2015): Fungal Diversity in the Fossil Record. In PDF, see also here (abstract).
Teaching Biology, Random Posts on Biological Topics (by Marc Srour, Enalia Physis Environmental Research Center, Cyprus): Taxonomic Bias in the Fossil Record: Is it really an issue?
! U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA: Geolex. Geolex is a search tool for lithologic and geochronologic unit names.
S. Varela et al. (2015): paleobioDB: an R package for downloading, visualizing and processing data from the Paleobiology Database. In PDF, Ecography, 38: 419-425.
! G.J. Vermeij (2016): Gigantism and Its Implications for the History of Life. PLoS ONE, 11.
Geologie, ETH Zürich:
Bilder aus der Erdgeschichte.
PDF file, in German.
Now provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.
! N.J. Wickett et al. (2014): Phylotranscriptomic analysis of the origin and early diversification of land plants. In PDF, PNAS 111, see also here.
an open content textbooks collection that anyone can edit:
History and Origin of Life.
! J.W. Williams and S.T. Jackson (2007): Novel climates, no-analog communities, and ecological surprises. In PDF, Front. Ecol. Environ., 5: 475-482.
! H.S. Yoon et al. (2004): A molecular timeline for the origin of photosynthetic eukaryotes. PDF file, Mol. Biol. Evol., 21: 809-818. See also here.
! J. Zalasiewicz et al. (2008): Are we now living in the Anthropocene? In PDF.
Z. Zhou and M.T. Antunes (2013):
Mesozoic stratigraphy. In PDF,
Ciências da Terra (UNL), 18; Lisboa.
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