Global taxonomic diversity of anomodonts (tetrapoda, therapsida) and the terrestrial rock record across the Permian-Triassic boundary.PLoS One. 2008; 3(11):e3733.Plos
The end-Permian biotic crisis (~252.5 Ma) represents the most severe extinction event in Earth's history. This paper investigates diversity patterns in Anomodontia, an extinct group of therapsid synapsids ('mammal-like reptiles'), through time and in particular across this event. As herbivores and the dominant terrestrial tetrapods of their time, anomodonts play a central role in assessing the impact of the end-Permian extinction on terrestrial ecosystems. Taxonomic diversity analysis reveals that anomodonts experienced three distinct phases of diversification interrupted by the same number of extinctions, i.e. an end-Guadalupian, an end-Permian, and a mid-Triassic extinction. A positive correlation between the number of taxa and the number of formations per time interval shows that anomodont diversity is biased by the Permian-Triassic terrestrial rock record. Normalized diversity curves indicate that anomodont richness continuously declines from the Middle Permian to the Late Triassic, but also reveals all three extinction events. Taxonomic rates (origination and extinction) indicate that the end-Guadalupian and end-Permian extinctions were driven by increased rates of extinction as well as low origination rates. However, this pattern is not evident at the final decline of anomodont diversity during the Middle Triassic. Therefore, it remains unclear whether the Middle Triassic extinction represents a gradual or abrupt event that is unique to anomodonts or more common among terrestrial tetrapods. The end-Permian extinction represents the most distinct event in terms of decline in anomodont richness and turnover rates.