Body Size Evolution Across the Geozoic

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The Geozoic encompasses the 3.6 Ga interval in Earth history when life has existed. Over this time, life has diversified from exclusively tiny, single-celled organisms to include large, complex multicellular forms. Just how and why this diversification occurred has been a major area of interest for paleontologists and evolutionary biologists for centuries. Here, we compile data on organism size throughout the Geozoic fossil record for the three domains of life. We describe canonical trends in the evolution of body size, synthesize current understanding of the patterns and causal mechanisms at various hierarchical scales, and discuss the biological and geological consequences of variation in organismal size.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Smith, FA; Payne, JL; Heim, NA; Balk, MA; Finnegan, S; Kowalewski, M; Lyons, SK; McClain, CR; McShea, DW; Novack-Gottshall, PM; Anich, PS; Wang, SC

Published Date

  • June 29, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 44 /

Start / End Page

  • 523 - 553

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0084-6597

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1146/annurev-earth-060115-012147

Citation Source

  • Scopus