Title

Body Size Evolution Across The Geozoic

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-1-2016

Published In

Annual Review Of Earth And Planetary Sciences

Abstract

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.

Keywords

allometry, biovolume, maximum body size, macroevolution, geobiology