Article: Ammonoids across the Permian/Triassic boundary: a cladistic perspective
The rapid diversification of ceratitid ammonoids during the earliest Mesozoic has been taken at face value as an example of explosive radiation following the Permian/Triassic mass extinction. However, the validity of this interpretation has never been tested within a phylogenetic framework. A total evidence cladistic analysis of Mid-Late Permian and Induan (earliest Triassic) ammonoids confirms the monophyly of the Ceratitida. Partitioned phylogenetic analysis of suture line characters vs. shell shape and ornament characters confirms the importance of suture-line characters for resolving the higher taxonomy of ammonoids. When the cladogram is compared with the observed fossil record, the resultant tree implies that the divergence of a number of early Triassic lineages actually occurred during the latest Permian. If these range extensions are taken into account the ammonoid per-genus extinction rate across the Permian/Triassic boundary drops from c. 85 per cent to c. 60 per cent.