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Keywords:

  • Brachiopoda;
  • Early Jurassic;
  • Europe;
  • Extinction;
  • Koninckinidae;
  • Radiation;
  • Tethys

The significant mass extinction attributed to the Early Toarcian anoxic event had a severe impact on the phylum Brachiopoda. Beyond a serious decrease of species diversity, the extinction of the orders Spiriferidina and Athyridida is connected with this episode. The order Athyridida was represented by the family Koninckinidae in the Early Jurassic. The stratigraphical and geographical distribution of the three Early Jurassic koninckinid genera (Koninckella, Koninckodonta, Amphiclinodonta) shows a definite radiative pattern. The number of their nominal species increased from 2 to 17 from the Sinemurian to Early Toarcian; in the same time interval, their area increased from the Alpine region to the whole Mediterranean and the NW-European domains. This radiative evolution can be explained as the result of different factors: (1) morphological adaptation to muddy bottoms, (2) fundamental changes in the current pattern in the Tethys/Laurasian Seaway, and, possibly, (3) utilization of methane-based chemosynthesis as alternative food source. The radiation of koninckinids, leading from the cryptic habitats of the Tethyan rocky floors to the extensive muddy bottoms of the open European shelves, was abruptly terminated by the anoxic event in the Early Toarcian Falciferum Zone. The main causes of the extinction might be: (1) the excessive warming of Tethyan deep waters by thermohaline circulation, (2) the anoxic event, which was not survived by the spire-bearers, handicapped by their stiff, calcareous spiralia. Brachiopoda, Early Jurassic, Europe, extinction, Koninckinidae, radiation, Tethys.