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Article: Ups and downs of belemnite diversity in the Early Jurassic of Western Tethys

Palaeontology - Vol. 64 - Cover Image
Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 64
Part: 2
Publication Date: March 2021
Page(s): 263 283
Author(s): Pascal Neige, Robert Weis, and Emmanuel Fara
Addition Information

How to Cite

NEIGE, P., WEIS, R., FARA, E. 2021. . Palaeontology, 64, 2, 263-283. DOI: /doi/10.1111/pala.12522

Author Information

  • Pascal Neige - Biogéosciences, UMR CNRS 6282 Université Bourgogne Franche‐Comté 6 Boulevard Gabriel 21000 Dijon France
  • Robert Weis - Section Paléontologie Musée National d'Histoire Naturelle 25 rue Münster 2160 Luxembourg Grand‐Duchy of Luxembourg
  • Emmanuel Fara - Biogéosciences, UMR CNRS 6282 Université Bourgogne Franche‐Comté 6 Boulevard Gabriel 21000 Dijon France

Publication History

  • Issue published online: 04 March 2021
  • Manuscript Accepted: 14 November 2020
  • Manuscript Received: 07 July 2020

Funded By

National Museum of Natural History Luxembourg

Online Version Hosted By

Wiley Online Library (Open Access)
Get Article: Wiley Online Library [Open Access]


Although belemnites form a major clade of extinct cephalopods, the early stage of their diversification remains poorly known in time and space. Here we investigate the first diversification episodes of belemnites (order Belemnitida) using a new species‐level database encompassing the Hettangian–Aalenian interval (Early Jurassic – earliest Middle Jurassic) and covering the Western Tethys. Rarefied richness shows a four‐fold increase from the Planorbis chronozone to the Ibex chronozone, a strong decrease between the Margaritatus and Spinatum chronozones, followed by a drop in the Spinatum–Serpentinum interval that is coeval with the second‐order Toarcian biological crisis. The Bifrons chronozone records a high richness that departs significantly from those of the surrounding chronozones. A last richness peak in the Dispansum chronozone precedes a decrease towards the Aalenian. Biogeographical analyses do not reveal any clear large‐scale provincialism for belemnites, in sharp contrast with ammonoids. Such a long‐term homogeneous spatial distribution of belemnites is probably due to: (1) the relatively poorly‐documented fossil record of belemnites, especially in Mediterranean localities; and (2) contrasted dispersal abilities of belemnites compared to ammonoids over the studied time interval.


This contribution benefited from the support of the research project ‘Systematics, palaeogeography and biostratigraphy of Jurassic belemnites’ at the National Museum of Natural History Luxembourg. The authors thank Jean‐Daniel Pinard for his help in the first steps of the database construction. We are grateful to Kenneth de Baets and Margaret M. Yaccobucci who acted as reviewers and helped to improve the manuscript. We also thank Sally Thomas for her help during the editing process.

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