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Article: Environmental causes of stunting in living and fossil marine benthonic invertebrates

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 8
Part: 1
Publication Date: January 1965
Page(s): 132 155
Author(s): A. Hallam
Addition Information

How to Cite

HALLAM, A. 1965. Environmental causes of stunting in living and fossil marine benthonic invertebrates. Palaeontology8, 1, 132–155.

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The Palaeontological Association (Free Access)


The various environmental causes of stunting or dwarfing in marine benthonic invertebrates are reviewed for living species and an attempt made to apply the results to cited instances among fossils. Particular attention is devoted to possible hazards of interpretation, and the criteria for distinguishing between stunted adults and juveniles among fossils is outlined. It is argued that the principal factors involved apart from food supply are the salinity, oxygen content, turbidity, agitation, and temperature of the sea water, together with population density. Palaeontological and sedimentological criteria for the distinction of these factors are proposed, but it is concluded that information on the primary factor, food supply, will continue to remain elusive to palaeoecologists.
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