[Taxacom] Mesozoic origins of many insect families (was: ISE...)

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Sun Jul 24 20:36:40 CDT 2011

Hi Lars, 
      Well I'm not trying to minimize the importance of
Cretaceous insect evolution (lots was clearly going on). But on the
other hand, I want to avoid minimizing the importance (and numbers) of
modern insect families which originated in the Triassic and Jurassic. I
find it hard to believe that a "vast majority" of Recent  insect
families originated in the Cretaceous, and would even be surprised if
they are a simple majority.  Add the number of extant families arising
before the Cretaceous to those arising after the Cretaceous, and I bet
it would exceed the number which arose during the Cretaceous.            
       Hunt et al., 2007 ("A comprehensive phylogeny of
beetles..." ; Science, 318: 1913-1916) found a very large number of
modern lineages of beetles having pre-Cretaceous origins). There are
also many modern families of Diptera that are known from the Jurassic
(and many of those which are only known back to the Cretaceous will
probably eventually be found in the Jurassic as well).    
        Anyway, I think it would be more accurate to say that the
Jurassic and Cretaceous together form "The Second Golden Age" of insect
evolution (the First Golden Age being the Carboniferous and Permian).
If I had to choose between them, I would tend to go with the first as
being THE Golden Age.

Lars wrote: 
Dear Ken and John, 
When I used the phrase "Golden Age of Insect Evolution" for the
Cretaceous I was certainly not referring to the "ordinal diversity" of
insects but to their "family diversity". As you correctly noted all of
the insect orders originated before the Cretaceous. However, the vast
majority of Recent insect "families" (many others are dealt with in the
subject issue!) originated (i.e. experienced their Golden Age...) in the


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