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Multiple global radiations in tadpole shrimps challenge the concept of 'living fossils'.

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posted on 2015-03-10, 14:50 authored by T. C. Mathers, Robert L. Hammond, R. A. Jenner, B. Hänfling, A. Gómez
'Living fossils', a phrase first coined by Darwin, are defined as species with limited recent diversification and high morphological stasis over long periods of evolutionary time. Morphological stasis, however, can potentially lead to diversification rates being underestimated. Notostraca, or tadpole shrimps, is an ancient, globally distributed order of branchiopod crustaceans regarded as 'living fossils' because their rich fossil record dates back to the early Devonian and their morphology is highly conserved. Recent phylogenetic reconstructions have shown a strong biogeographic signal, suggesting diversification due to continental breakup, and widespread cryptic speciation. However, morphological conservatism makes it difficult to place fossil taxa in a phylogenetic context. Here we reveal for the first time the timing and tempo of tadpole shrimp diversification by inferring a robust multilocus phylogeny of Branchiopoda and applying Bayesian divergence dating techniques using reliable fossil calibrations external to Notostraca. Our results suggest at least two bouts of global radiation in Notostraca, one of them recent, so questioning the validity of the 'living fossils' concept in groups where cryptic speciation is widespread.

Funding

NERC CASE Studentship: NE/G012318/1. NERC Advanced fellowship: NE/B501298/1

History

Citation

PeerJ, 2013, 1, pp. e62

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/School of Biological Sciences/Department of Biology

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

PeerJ

Publisher

PeerJ

issn

2167-8359

eissn

2167-8359

Copyright date

2013

Available date

2015-03-10

Publisher version

https://peerj.com/articles/62/

Notes

PMCID: PMC3628881 The following information was supplied regarding the deposition of related data: Dryad: DOI 10.5061/dryad.77bt2

Language

en

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