Fossils explained 50: Recognising predator-prey interactions in the fossil record

Harper, E. M. (2005) Fossils explained 50: Recognising predator-prey interactions in the fossil record. Geology Today, 21. pp. 191-196. ISSN Online ISSN: 1365-2451 DOI

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Death is, of course, an inevitability for any organism and many animals meet that fate by being killed by other animals for food. Predation, along with competition, is widely recognized as being an important process in evolution. Putting it at its most basic: animals that get eaten ‘prematurely’ leave fewer offspring and as a result have less opportunity to pass on their genes (and thereby particular traits) to the next generation. Classic ecological experiments on modern communities have shown how removal of certain predators has profoundly affected the balance of different organisms that live there, and it is well demonstrated that certain morphological traits (e.g. thick shells and spines) protect the organisms that possess them. As a result it is often concluded that predation pressure is likely to have been important in the evolution of both communities and individual taxa.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2005 AREP IA44A IA49 2005 P
Subjects: 04 - Palaeobiology
Divisions: 04 - Palaeobiology
Journal or Publication Title: Geology Today
Volume: 21
Page Range: pp. 191-196
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2011 00:08
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 09:58

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