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      Complex ichnofossils of solitary and social soil organisms: understanding their evolution and roles in terrestrial paleoecosystems

      Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

      Elsevier BV

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          Insect diversity in the fossil record.

          Insects possess a surprisingly extensive fossil record. Compilation of the geochronologic ranges of insect families demonstrates that their diversity exceeds that of preserved vertebrate tetrapods through 91 percent of their evolutionary history. The great diversity of insects was achieved not by high origination rates but rather by low extinction rates comparable to the low rates of slowly evolving marine invertebrate groups. The great radiation of modern insects began 245 million years ago and was not accelerated by the expansion of angiosperms during the Cretaceous period. The basic trophic machinery of insects was in place nearly 100 million years before angiosperms appeared in the fossil record.
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            Evolution of supercolonies: the Argentine ants of southern Europe.

            Some ants have an extraordinary social organization, called unicoloniality, whereby individuals mix freely among physically separated nests. This type of social organization is not only a key attribute responsible for the ecological domination of these ants, but also an evolutionary paradox and a potential problem for kin selection theory because relatedness between nest mates is effectively zero. The introduction of the Argentine ant in Europe was apparently accompanied by a dramatic loss of inter-nest aggression and the formation of two immense supercolonies (which effectively are two unicolonial populations). Introduced populations experienced only limited loss of genetic diversity at neutral markers, indicating that the breakdown of recognition ability is unlikely to be merely due to a genetic bottleneck. Rather, we suggest that a "genetic cleansing" of recognition cues occurred after introduction. Indeed workers of the same supercolony are never aggressive to each other despite the large geographical distance and considerable genetic differentiation between sampling sites. By contrast, aggression is invariably extremely high between the two supercolonies, indicating that they have become fixed for different recognition alleles. The main supercolony, which ranges over 6,000 km from Italy to the Spanish Atlantic coast, effectively forms the largest cooperative unit ever recorded.
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              A semiquantitative field classification of ichnofabric

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
                Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
                Elsevier BV
                00310182
                March 2003
                March 2003
                : 192
                : 1-4
                : 259-320
                Article
                10.1016/S0031-0182(02)00689-2
                © 2003

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