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Finding reticulated evolution in the fossil record, a case study with putative hybrids in recent and fossil Stromboidea (Gastropoda)

  • Ulrich Wieneke's Lab


Morphological information within the fossil record delivers the main criteria when discussing evolutionary lineages. On the other hand: studying recent animals allows digging much deeper into evolution by looking into information from DNA, ecology, behavior, and others. This raises the question of where knowledge of extant animals can improve our understanding of what has been happening in the fossil record. Speciation via hybridisation may be a mechanism that challenges our view of monohierarchical evolution. While in plants, hybridisation is well-known and leads to reticulated evolution, this mechanism is not evident in animal evolution. Here we try to extrapolate from hybridisation in the extant marine gastropod superfamily Stromboidea and its morphological basis to a related group in the fossil record. Hybridisation in Stromboidea still lacks molecular research. On the other hand, about 20 different hybrids in Strombidae and Aporrhaidae are postulated by morphological studies. The morphological basis of this claim is discussed here, and resulting mechanisms are applied to the fossil record of Paleogene and Neogene Aporrhaidae. Two instances were discovered: Aporrhais digitata (Roth von Telegd, 1915) and the lineage from Aporrhais peralata (Sacco, 1893) and secondly: A. pliorara (Sacco, 1893) to A. serresiana (Michaud, 1828), with the extant species Aporrhais serresiana (Michaud, 1828) as the end of the lineage. See p. 100, in DOI 10.23788/SPX-Suppl30A
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