Devonian conodont biogeography: Quantitative analysis of provinciality

Karl W. Flessa, Margaret C. Hardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cluster analysis of conodont faunas from each of 17 Lower-lower Upper Devonian zones and subzones (data as reported by Klapper and Johnson, 1980) reveal changing patterns of provinciality. Provinciality, expressed by a differentiation into western Laurussian and proto-Tethyan biogeographic regions, is moderate in the lower Lochkovian but is low or absent in the upper Lochkovian-lower Pragian. Provincialism returns in the Pragian and reaches its maximum development during the Emsian. Most Australian faunas are distinct from those of western Laurussia and the proto-Tethys. Conodont faunas from suspect terranes of western North America display no unusual biogeographic affinities. Provincialism declines during the Eifelian and is only weakly developed in Givetian-lower Frasnian faunas. Changing global sea level during the Devonian may explain the development of Devonian conodont provinciality. As proposed by Klapper and Johnson (1980), low provinciality is associated with low stands of sea level. Endemic faunas develop in isolated epeiric seas during intermediate stages of sea level rise. High stands of sea level ultimately drown barriers to faunal exchange and prompt a return to low provinciality conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-134
Number of pages32
JournalHistorical Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1988


  • Conodonts
  • Devonian
  • biogeography
  • cluster analysis
  • paleogeography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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