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      Elevated Extinction Rates as a Trigger for Diversification Rate Shifts: Early Amniotes as a Case Study

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          Abstract

          Tree shape analyses are frequently used to infer the location of shifts in diversification rate within the Tree of Life. Many studies have supported a causal relationship between shifts and temporally coincident events such as the evolution of “key innovations”. However, the evidence for such relationships is circumstantial. We investigated patterns of diversification during the early evolution of Amniota from the Carboniferous to the Triassic, subjecting a new supertree to analyses of tree balance in order to infer the timing and location of diversification shifts. We investigated how uneven origination and extinction rates drive diversification shifts, and use two case studies (herbivory and an aquatic lifestyle) to examine whether shifts tend to be contemporaneous with evolutionary novelties. Shifts within amniotes tend to occur during periods of elevated extinction, with mass extinctions coinciding with numerous and larger shifts. Diversification shifts occurring in clades that possess evolutionary innovations do not coincide temporally with the appearance of those innovations, but are instead deferred to periods of high extinction rate. We suggest such innovations did not cause increases in the rate of cladogenesis, but allowed clades to survive extinction events. We highlight the importance of examining general patterns of diversification before interpreting specific shifts.

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          Most cited references 44

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          The evolution of dinosaurs.

          The ascendancy of dinosaurs on land near the close of the Triassic now appears to have been as accidental and opportunistic as their demise and replacement by therian mammals at the end of the Cretaceous. The dinosaurian radiation, launched by 1-meter-long bipeds, was slower in tempo and more restricted in adaptive scope than that of therian mammals. A notable exception was the evolution of birds from small-bodied predatory dinosaurs, which involved a dramatic decrease in body size. Recurring phylogenetic trends among dinosaurs include, to the contrary, increase in body size. There is no evidence for co-evolution between predators and prey or between herbivores and flowering plants. As the major land masses drifted apart, dinosaurian biogeography was molded more by regional extinction and intercontinental dispersal than by the breakup sequence of Pangaea.
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            Superiority, competition, and opportunism in the evolutionary radiation of dinosaurs.

            The rise and diversification of the dinosaurs in the Late Triassic, from 230 to 200 million years ago, is a classic example of an evolutionary radiation with supposed competitive replacement. A comparison of evolutionary rates and morphological disparity of basal dinosaurs and their chief "competitors," the crurotarsan archosaurs, shows that dinosaurs exhibited lower disparity and an indistinguishable rate of character evolution. The radiation of Triassic archosaurs as a whole is characterized by declining evolutionary rates and increasing disparity, suggesting a decoupling of character evolution from body plan variety. The results strongly suggest that historical contingency, rather than prolonged competition or general "superiority," was the primary factor in the rise of dinosaurs.
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              Taxonomic Diversity during the Phanerozoic.

               D Raup (1972)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group
                2045-2322
                23 November 2015
                2015
                : 5
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung , Invalidenstraße 43, D-10115 Berlin, Germany
                [2 ]Institut für Biologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin , Invalidenstraße 110, Berlin D-10115, Germany
                [3 ]School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, Joseph Banks Laboratories , Green Lane, Lincoln LN6 7DL, UK
                [4 ]Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research , Altensteinstrasse 6, Berlin D-14195, Germany
                Author notes
                Article
                srep17104
                10.1038/srep17104
                4655484
                26592209
                Copyright © 2015, Macmillan Publishers Limited

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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