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Entire groups of fish found as fossils in Devonian rock layers disappear from higher strata. Among them are osteostracans, like Cephalaspis, a jawless armored fish. Human fingernail for scale. Specimen on display at the Colorado Museum of Nature and Science.
Glyptodonts are another impressive type of mammal lost to extinction and part of the Pleistocene megafauna. Specimen on display at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History.
Megatherium is one of the largest land mammals known to have existed and is part of the Pleistocene megafauna. This ground sloth was endemic to South America. Specimen on display at the Chicago Museum of Natural History
This large-sized extinct bear was a representative of the so-called Pleistocene megafauna. Specimen mounted and on display at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History.
Dinosaurs are not the only group of organisms to disappear above Cretaceous strata. Inoceramids, a family of large bivalves, are also extinct and not found in Cenozoic layers. Remains of fish have been found preserved within some specimens of this giant clam, leading to the suggestion of possible commensalism or symbiosis. Specimen on display at the Colorado Museum of Nature and Science.
Calcareous nannofossils (coccoliths) are among the tiniest fossils preserved in the sedimentary record, measuring around 5 to 10 microns. The image (plate) shows petrographic microscope photos of some of the most characteristic coccoliths of the Cretaceous/Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary. This boundary is associated with one of the most studied mass extinctions in the geological record, which has been correlated to a major catastrophic event. Photos 1 to 4 show nannofossils of the Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) that are thought to have gone extinct at the K-Pg catastrophic event. Photos 5 to 7 are of Cretaceous survivors that show continuous distribution into the Paleogene (Danian). These last species are considered adapted to cold water and eutrophic environments (r-selected taxa). Photos 8 and 9 show Paleogene taxa, not present below the boundary. (Photos by E. Belia)