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Keywords:

  • Alivincular Ligament;
  • Bivalvia;
  • Constructional Morphology;
  • Evolution;
  • Mesozoic Marine Revolution;
  • Pteriomorphia

The early Mesozoic radiation of the Pteriomorphia was accompanied and furthered by the development of several new types of alivincular ligaments. These new types evolved as modifications of the primitive alivincular-areate (new term) ligament, which is characterized by an ontogenetic shift of both the central resilium and the straight lateral ligament in the direction of main shell growth. Arching of the attachment surface of the ligament led to the alivincular-arcuate (new term) ligament type, which has been realized by the Ostreidae only. By contrast, a replacement of the lateral ligament by hinge teeth, limiting the (primary) ligament to a central groove (alivincular-fossate, new term), has evolved independently in three families (Dimyidae, Plicatulidae and Spondylidae). Functionally, both kinds of modification effectively impede shearing of the valves and are interpreted as an antipredatory adaptation advantageous in the cemented habit of these families. The alivincular-alate (new term) ligament of the Entoliidae and Pectinidae differs from the other types of alivincular ligaments by different growth directions of resilium and lateral ligament, which result in an internal position of the resilium suitable for fast and powerful opening of the valves. This arrangement is an important prerequisite for effective swimming, which, in its turn, is a behaviour chiefly used to escape from predator attacks. The simultaneous early Mesozoic appearance of different antipredatory adaptations within independent clades hints at increased predator pressure as a stimulant and may therefore point to a contemporaneous proliferation of durophagous predators. Hence, an important aspect of the ‘Mesozoic marine revolution’ might have started earlier than previously thought.