PerspectivePALEOECOLOGY

Ecological stasis on geological time scales

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Science  16 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6539, pp. 237-238
DOI: 10.1126/science.abh2853

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Summary

The rise and decline of organismal lineages dominate our view of life's history. Less appreciated is the persistence of ecological communities for tens of millions of years (1). On p. 300 of this issue, Blanco et al. (2), analyzing a series of mammalian faunas spanning the past 21 million years of the Iberian Peninsula, demonstrate increasing persistence of functional systems over time and the decoupling of those systems from species composition and duration. This study adds to a growing body of evidence that community structure is fundamentally important to ecosystem persistence (3)

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