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Late Cenozoic History of the Genus Micromys (Mammalia, Rodentia) in Central Europe

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      Molecular phylogeography suggests that Micromys minutus, the sole extant species of the genus, colonized its extensive range quite recently, during the Late Pleistocene-Holocene period. Rich Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil records both from Europe and China suggest rather continuous and gradual in situ phenotype rearrangements from the Pliocene to the Recent periods. To elucidate the discrepancy we reexamined a considerable part of the European fossil record of the genus (14 sites from MN15 to Q3, 0.4–4.2 Ma, including the type series of M. preaminutus from MN15 Csarnóta 2), analyzed them with the aid of detailed morphometric comparisons, and concluded that: (a) The European Pliocene form, M. praeminutus, differs significantly from the extant species; (b) it exhibits a broad phenotypic variation covering the presumptive diagnostic characters of MN16 M. caesaris; (c) despite having smaller dimensions, the Early and Middle Pleistocene forms (MN17-Q3, 2.6–0.4 Ma) seem to be closer to M. praeminutus than to the extant species; (d) the extinction of M. praeminutus during Q3 and the re-occupation of its niche by the recent expansion of M. minutus from E-European – C Asiatic sources (suggested by phylogeographic hypotheses) cannot be excluded. Discussing interpretations of the phylogenetic past of the genus we emphasize the distinct history of the West Palearctic clade (Late Miocene-Early Pleistocene) terminating with M. praeminutus and the East Asiatic clade (chalceus, tedfordi, minutus), and the possible identity of the Western clade with the Late Miocene genus Parapodemus.

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      Phylogeny and biogeography of African Murinae based on mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences, with a new tribal classification of the subfamily

      Background Within the subfamily Murinae, African murines represent 25% of species biodiversity, making this group ideal for detailed studies of the patterns and timing of diversification of the African endemic fauna and its relationships with Asia. Here we report the results of phylogenetic analyses of the endemic African murines through a broad sampling of murine diversity from all their distribution area, based on the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and the two nuclear gene fragments (IRBP exon 1 and GHR). Results A combined analysis of one mitochondrial and two nuclear gene sequences consistently identified and robustly supported ten primary lineages within Murinae. We propose to formalize a new tribal arrangement within the Murinae that reflects this phylogeny. The diverse African murine assemblage includes members of five of the ten tribes and clearly derives from multiple faunal exchanges between Africa and Eurasia. Molecular dating analyses using a relaxed Bayesian molecular clock put the first colonization of Africa around 11 Mya, which is consistent with the fossil record. The main period of African murine diversification occurred later following disruption of the migration route between Africa and Asia about 7–9 Mya. A second period of interchange, dating to around 5–6.5 Mya, saw the arrival in Africa of Mus (leading to the speciose endemic Nannomys), and explains the appearance of several distinctive African lineages in the late Miocene and Pliocene fossil record of Eurasia. Conclusion Our molecular survey of Murinae, which includes the most complete sampling so far of African taxa, indicates that there were at least four separate radiations within the African region, as well as several phases of dispersal between Asia and Africa during the last 12 My. We also reconstruct the phylogenetic structure of the Murinae, and propose a new classification at tribal level for this traditionally problematic group.
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        Pliocene colonization and adaptive radiations in Australia and New Guinea (Sahul): multilocus systematics of the old endemic rodents (Muroidea: Murinae).

        The old endemic rodents of Australia and New Guinea (Sahul) represent one or more large adaptive radiations including novel morphological adaptations to aquatic, arboreal, hopping, and arid ecologies. Four tribes recognized among the Sahulian old endemics (Hydromini, Conilurini, Anisomyini, and Uromyini) reflect distinct biogeographic and ecomorphological hypotheses about diversification within the Old Endemics. We present the first character-based phylogeny of the Sahulian Old Endemic rodents with broad sampling, nested within a broader phylogeny of the Murinae. We estimated phylogenies from >2,500 nucleotides of mtDNA sequence and >9,500 nucleotides from six autosomal nuclear loci, for individual genes and for the full concatenated data using parsimony, likelihood, and Bayesian methods. Our results strongly supported monophyly of the group and its sister relationship to the Philippine old endemics of the Chrotomys division. Most striking was the rapid diversification after the Late Miocene or Early Pliocene colonization of New Guinea from the west, consistent with a single colonization of the Sahulian continent. That was followed 2-3 My later by a second adaptive radiation resulting from one or more colonizations of Australia. Monophyly was not supported for the Anisomyini or the Conilurini but was for the Uromyini nested within the Conilurini and for the Hydromyini. Conflict among gene phylogenies was weak, and support for the consensus topology increased with more (even conflicting) data.

          Author and article information

          [1 ]Department of Zoology, Charles University, Praha, Czech Republic
          [2 ]Institute of Geology AS CR, v.v.i., Praha, Czech Republic
          [3 ]Magyar Földtani és Geofizikai Intézet, Budapest, Hungary
          [4 ]Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals PAS, Krakow, Poland
          Monash University, Australia
          Author notes

          Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

          Provided material from the collections under their care: IH LK AN. Conceived and designed the experiments: IH MK JW. Performed the experiments: IH MK JW LK AN. Analyzed the data: MK JW IH LK AN. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: IH MK JW LK AN. Wrote the paper: IH JW MK.

          Role: Editor
          PLoS One
          PLoS ONE
          PLoS ONE
          Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
          6 May 2013
          : 8
          : 5

          This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

          Pages: 19
          The study was supported by grant No. GA205/09/0184 from the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (to JW and IH), GAUK 355511 (to MK), and by institutional project AVOZ30130516 and RVO67985831 of the Institute of Geology AS CR, v.v.i. (JW). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
          Research Article
          Evolutionary Biology
          Forms of Evolution
          Parallel Evolution
          Phenetic Evolution
          Vertebrate Paleontology
          Vertebrate Paleontology
          Earth Sciences
          Vertebrate Paleontology



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