The Cambrian Period (541-485 Mya) represents a major stage in the development of metazoan-dominated assemblages with complex community structure and species interactions. Exceptionally preserved fossil sites have allowed specimen-based identification of putative trophic interactions to which network analyses have been applied. However, network analyses of the fossil record suffer from incomplete and indirect data, time averaging that obscures species coexistence, and biases in preservation. Here, we present a novel high-resolution fossil dataset from the Raymond Quarry (RQ) member of the mid-Cambrian Burgess Shale (7549 specimens, 61 taxa, ~510 Mya) affording new perspectives on these challenging issues. Further, we formulate a new measure of 'preservation bias' that aids identification of those assemblage subsets to which network analyses can be reliably applied. For sections with sufficiently low bias, abundance correlation network analyses predicted longitudinally consistent trophic and competitive interactions. Our correlation network analyses predicted previously postulated trophic interactions with 83.5% accuracy and demonstrated a shift from specialist interaction-dominated assemblages to ones dominated by generalist and competitive interactions. This approach provides a robust, taphonomically corrected framework to explore and predict in detail the existence and ecological character of putative interactions in fossil datasets, offering new windows on ancient food-webs. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
- Downloaded 479 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 79,500
- In paleontology: 139
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: None
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 115,864
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 27 Nov 2020: The website and API now include results pulled from medRxiv as well as bioRxiv.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!