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      Tree of Life Reveals Clock-Like Speciation and Diversification

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          Abstract

          Genomic data are rapidly resolving the tree of living species calibrated to time, the timetree of life, which will provide a framework for research in diverse fields of science. Previous analyses of taxonomically restricted timetrees have found a decline in the rate of diversification in many groups of organisms, often attributed to ecological interactions among species. Here, we have synthesized a global timetree of life from 2,274 studies representing 50,632 species and examined the pattern and rate of diversification as well as the timing of speciation. We found that species diversity has been mostly expanding overall and in many smaller groups of species, and that the rate of diversification in eukaryotes has been mostly constant. We also identified, and avoided, potential biases that may have influenced previous analyses of diversification including low levels of taxon sampling, small clade size, and the inclusion of stem branches in clade analyses. We found consistency in time-to-speciation among plants and animals, ∼2 My, as measured by intervals of crown and stem species times. Together, this clock-like change at different levels suggests that speciation and diversification are processes dominated by random events and that adaptive change is largely a separate process.

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          Most cited references 35

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          The delayed rise of present-day mammals.

          Did the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event, by eliminating non-avian dinosaurs and most of the existing fauna, trigger the evolutionary radiation of present-day mammals? Here we construct, date and analyse a species-level phylogeny of nearly all extant Mammalia to bring a new perspective to this question. Our analyses of how extant lineages accumulated through time show that net per-lineage diversification rates barely changed across the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. Instead, these rates spiked significantly with the origins of the currently recognized placental superorders and orders approximately 93 million years ago, before falling and remaining low until accelerating again throughout the Eocene and Oligocene epochs. Our results show that the phylogenetic 'fuses' leading to the explosion of extant placental orders are not only very much longer than suspected previously, but also challenge the hypothesis that the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event had a major, direct influence on the diversification of today's mammals.
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            TimeTree: a public knowledge-base of divergence times among organisms.

            Biologists and other scientists routinely need to know times of divergence between species and to construct phylogenies calibrated to time (timetrees). Published studies reporting time estimates from molecular data have been increasing rapidly, but the data have been largely inaccessible to the greater community of scientists because of their complexity. TimeTree brings these data together in a consistent format and uses a hierarchical structure, corresponding to the tree of life, to maximize their utility. Results are presented and summarized, allowing users to quickly determine the range and robustness of time estimates and the degree of consensus from the published literature. TimeTree is available at http://www.timetree.net
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              HYPSOMETRIC (AREA-ALTITUDE) ANALYSIS OF EROSIONAL TOPOGRAPHY

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Mol Biol Evol
                Mol. Biol. Evol
                molbev
                molbiolevol
                Molecular Biology and Evolution
                Oxford University Press
                0737-4038
                1537-1719
                April 2015
                03 March 2015
                03 March 2015
                : 32
                : 4
                : 835-845
                Affiliations
                1Center for Biodiversity, Temple University
                2Institute for Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine, Temple University
                3Department of Biology, Temple University
                Author notes
                * Corresponding author: E-mail: sbh@ 123456temple.edu .

                Associate editor: Emma Teeling

                Article
                msv037
                10.1093/molbev/msv037
                4379413
                25739733
                © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com

                Page count
                Pages: 11
                Categories
                Fast Tracks

                Molecular biology

                tree of life, biodiversity, diversification, speciation, timetree

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