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Is there any evidence pro or con on whether the early Cretaceous
Liaoning fossils represent a biota that once lived in an ecologically
diverse setting featuring a variety of small habitats? I know that one
article referred to the local Jehol ecosystem as a refugium for relict
species (compsognathids, dragon flies, and long tailed pterosaurs a la
Solnhofen), and I am well aware that the depositional environment was
most unusual, but I would like to read comments on whether the region
fostered speciation in a fashion that one could compare to that of
island systems which are well known for endemism (unique species).
Could late Jurassic tectonic activity and frequent volcanic eruptions
have created a dynamic topography encouraging numerous isolated pockets
of rapid evolution?
Please provide references, if available.
---------Ralph W. Miller III