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There was no Mesozoic marine revolution
* 1 , 2
1  New Mexico Museum of Natural History
2  Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum, 3407 109th St SW, Everett, WA 98204
Academic Editor: Jesús Martínez Frías


Vermeij introduced the phrase “Mesozoic marine revolution” to refer primarily to the Cretaceous origin of durophagous predators, such as teleost fishes and decapod crustaceans, and the co-evolutionary response by their prey (primarily gastropods) by increasing shell sturdiness. He also drew attention to a perceived simultaneous increase in benthic grazing and a tendency toward infaunalization. Subsequent work has pushed these changes back to the Triassic, so that the “Mesozoic marine revolution” is now perceived to have taken place during nearly the entire Mesozoic. Furthermore, durophagous predators had already evolved during the Paleozoic, in the Middle Devonian, and their prey items also responded coevolutionarily to increase shell sturdiness. We question identifying a single “revolution” or event in the coevolution of durophagous predators and their prey. Note that the use of “revolution” for an event that takes many tens of millions of years is simply semantically improper. Such use of the words revolution and event are intended to draw attention to and to hyperbolize significant evolutionary changes. However, if a perceived evolutionary change is a series of events, many not related, over many tens or hundreds of millions of years, then the label “revolution” masks important evolutionary history. Durophagous predators and their prey began to coevolve in the Devonian, and that coevolution continued into the Cenozoic and encompasses many distinct and convergent evolutionary events. Identifying a single “revolution” thus confounds understanding of the multiple events and evolutionary convergences that actually took place. The term and concept “Mesozoic marine revolution” should be abandoned.

Keywords: Mesozoic; marine revolution; durophagous predators; infaunalization