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The ages of the oldest fossils suggest an origin for primates in the Paleocene (∼56 Ma). Fossil-calibrated molecular clock dates give Cretaceous dates (∼80-116 Ma). Both these estimates are minimum dates although they are often 'transmogrified' and treated as maximum or absolute dates. Oldest fossils can underestimate ages by tens of millions of years and instead of calibrating the time-course of evolution with a scanty fossil record, the geographical boundaries of the main molecular clades of primates are calibrated here with radiometrically dated tectonic events. This indicates that primates originated when a globally widespread ancestor (early Archonta) differentiated into a northern group (Plesiadapiformes, extinct), a southern group (Primates), and two south-east Asian groups (Dermoptera and Scandentia). The division occurred with the breakup of Pangea in the Early Jurassic and the opening of the central Atlantic (∼185 Ma). Within primates, the strepsirrhines and haplorhines diverged with volcanism and buckling on the Lebombo Monocline, a volcanic rifted margin in south-east Africa (Early Jurassic, ∼180 Ma). Within strepsirrhines, lorises and galagos (Africa and Asia) and lemurs (Madagascar) diverged with the formation of the Mozambique Channel (Middle Jurassic, ∼160 Ma). Within haplorhines, Old World monkeys and New World monkeys diverged with the opening of the Atlantic (Early Cretaceous, ∼130 Ma). The main aspects of primate distribution are interpreted as the result of plate tectonics, phylogeny and vicariance, with some subsequent range expansion leading to secondary overlap. Long-distance, trans-oceanic dispersal events are not necessary. The primate ancestral complex was already widespread globally when sea-floor spreading, strike-slip rifting and orogeny fractured and deformed distributions through the Jurassic and Cretaceous, leading to the origin of the modern clades. The model suggests that the topology of the phylogenetic tree reflects a sequence of differentiation in a widespread ancestor rather than a series of dispersal events. © 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Source


Heads M.,Buffalo Museum of Science
Journal of Biogeography | Year: 2010

This paper provides a panbiogeographical analysis of the endemic plant families and the palms of New Caledonia. There are three endemic plant families in New Caledonia and several genera that were previously recognized as endemic families. Of these taxa, some are sister to widespread Northern Hemisphere or global groups (Canacomyrica, Austrotaxus, Amborella). The others belong to trans-Indian Ocean groups (Strasburgeria), trans-tropical Pacific groups (Oncotheca) or Tasman Sea/Coral Sea groups (Phelline, Paracryphia) that are sister to widespread Northern Hemisphere or global groups. In palms, the four clades show allopatric regional connections in, respectively: (1) western Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand; (2) Vanuatu/Fiji and the southern Ryukyu Islands near Taiwan; (3) the western Tasman/Coral Sea (eastern Australia, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands); and (4) the eastern Tasman/Coral Sea (Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands). The four clades thus belong to different centres of endemism that overlap in New Caledonia. The patterns are attributed not to chance dispersal and adaptive radiation but to the different histories of the eight terranes that fused to produce modern New Caledonia. Trans-tropical Pacific connections can be related to the Cretaceous igneous plateaus that formed in the central Pacific and were carried, with plate movement, west to the Solomon Islands and New Zealand, and east to Colombia and the Caribbean. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source


Heads M.,Buffalo Museum of Science
Journal of Biogeography | Year: 2010

This note replies to criticisms raised by Murienne (Journal of Biogeography, 2010, doi:. 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2010.02321.x). Herein it is argued that assuming distributions in New Caledonia are caused by current environmental factors overlooks the possible importance of regional tectonic history for the biogeography. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source


Heads M.,Buffalo Museum of Science
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society | Year: 2015

This paper reviews ideas on the relationship between the ecology of clades and their distribution. Ecological biogeography represents a tradition that dates back to ancient times. It assumes that the distribution of organisms is explained by factors of present environment, especially climate. In contrast, modern systematics, following its origins in the Renaissance, concluded with Darwin that 'neither the similarity nor the dissimilarity of the inhabitants of various regions can be accounted for by their climatal and other physical conditions'. In many cases, species distribution models - ecological niche models - based on the current environment of a species (its environmental envelope) fail to predict the actual distribution of the species. In particular, they often over-predict distributions. In addition, a group's niche often varies in space and time. These results provide valuable evidence that Darwin was correct, and many ecologists now recognise that there is a problem with the niche theory of distribution. Current ecological processes explain distribution at smaller scales than do biogeographical and evolutionary processes, but the latter can lead to patterns that are much more local than many ecologists have assumed. Biogeographical phenomena often occur at a much smaller scale than that of the Wallacean regions. In areas that have been subjected to marine inundation or intense tectonism, many centres of endemism are only tens of kilometres across. © 2015 The Linnean Society of London. Source


Dentinger B.T.M.,University of Minnesota | Dentinger B.T.M.,Royal Ontario Museum | Dentinger B.T.M.,Jodrell Laboratory | Dentinger B.T.M.,University of Toronto | And 12 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2010

Porcini (Boletus section Boletus: Boletaceae: Boletineae: Boletales) are a conspicuous group of wild, edible mushrooms characterized by fleshy fruiting bodies with a poroid hymenophore that is "stuffed" with white hyphae when young. Their reported distribution is with ectomycorrhizal plants throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Little progress has been made on the systematics of this group using modern molecular phylogenetic tools because sampling has been limited primarily to European species and the genes employed were insufficient to resolve the phylogeny. We examined the evolutionary history of porcini by using a global geographic sampling of most known species, new discoveries from little explored areas, and multiple genes. We used 78 sequences from the fast-evolving nuclear internal transcribed spacers and are able to recognize 18 reciprocally monophyletic species. To address whether or not porcini form a monophyletic group, we compiled a broadly sampled dataset of 41 taxa, including other members of the Boletineae, and used separate and combined phylogenetic analysis of sequences from the nuclear large subunit ribosomal DNA, the largest subunit of RNA polymerase II, and the mitochondrial ATPase subunit six gene. Contrary to previous studies, our separate and combined phylogenetic analyses support the monophyly of porcini. We also report the discovery of two taxa that expand the known distribution of porcini to Australia and Thailand and have ancient phylogenetic connections to the rest of the group. A relaxed molecular clock analysis with these new taxa dates the origin of porcini to between 42 and 54 million years ago, coinciding with the initial diversification of angiosperms, during the Eocene epoch when the climate was warm and humid. These results reveal an unexpected diversity, distribution, and ancient origin of a group of commercially valuable mushrooms that may provide an economic incentive for conservation and support the hypothesis of a tropical origin of the ectomycorrhizal symbiosis. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. Source

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