1. Evolutionary Biology
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Early evolution of beetles regulated by the end-Permian deforestation

  1. Xianye Zhao
  2. Yilun Yu
  3. Matthew E Clapham
  4. Evgeny Yan
  5. Jun Chen
  6. Edmund A Jarzembowski
  7. Xiangdong Zhao
  8. Bo Wang  Is a corresponding author
  1. Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, China
  2. Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, China
  3. Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, United States
  4. Palaeontological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation
  5. Institute of Geology and Paleontology, Linyi University, China
  6. Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2021;10:e72692 doi: 10.7554/eLife.72692

Abstract

The end-Permian mass extinction (EPME) led to a severe terrestrial ecosystem collapse. However, the ecological response of insects—the most diverse group of organisms on Earth—to the EPME remains poorly understood. Here, we analyse beetle evolutionary history based on taxonomic diversity, morphological disparity, phylogeny, and ecological shifts from the Early Permian to Middle Triassic, using a comprehensive new data set. Permian beetles were dominated by xylophagous stem groups with high diversity and disparity, which probably played an underappreciated role in the Permian carbon cycle. Our suite of analyses shows that Permian xylophagous beetles suffered a severe extinction during the EPME largely due to the collapse of forest ecosystems, resulting in an Early Triassic gap of xylophagous beetles. New xylophagous beetles appeared widely in the early Middle Triassic, which is consistent with the restoration of forest ecosystems. Our results highlight the ecological significance of insects in deep-time terrestrial ecosystems.

Data availability

All source data are available at https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.7m0cfxpvd. In addition, the source data files (Supplementary Data 1-4) have been provided for figures 2-4 and appendix figures 1-10.

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Xianye Zhao

    Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Nanjing, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Yilun Yu

    Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Beijing, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Matthew E Clapham

    Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Evgeny Yan

    Palaeontological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Jun Chen

    Institute of Geology and Paleontology, Linyi University, Linyi, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Edmund A Jarzembowski

    State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjiing, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  7. Xiangdong Zhao

    Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Nanjing, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  8. Bo Wang

    Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Nanjing, China
    For correspondence
    bowang@nigpas.ac.cn
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-8001-9937

Funding

Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA19050101,XDB26000000)

  • Bo Wang

National Natural Science Foundation of China (42125201,41688103)

  • Bo Wang

Natural Scientific Founation of Shandong Province (ZR2020YQ27)

  • Jun Chen

Russian Science Foundation (21-14-00284)

  • Evgeny Yan

Chinese Academy of Sciences (2020VCA0020)

  • Edmund A Jarzembowski

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. George H Perry, Pennsylvania State University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: August 1, 2021
  2. Preprint posted: October 13, 2021 (view preprint)
  3. Accepted: November 3, 2021
  4. Accepted Manuscript published: November 8, 2021 (version 1)
  5. Version of Record published: November 11, 2021 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2021, Zhao et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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