The timeline of mammalian diversification

Date & time

12–1pm 16 July 2019


Eucalyptus Seminar Room, Rm S205, Level 2, RN Robertson Building (46)


Matthew Phillips, Queensland University of Technology


 David Duchene
 6125 0047


Most molecular dating estimates push back the interordinal diversification of placental mammals and even some orders (such as Primates) into the Cretaceous, 10-20 million years earlier than first fossil appearances. I will discuss how correcting (or avoiding) errors associated with parallel decelerations in DNA substitution rates among large, long-lived taxa brings molecular dates into agreement with the placental mammal diversification observed in post-Cretaceous fossil records. Deeper in the tree, among Mesozoic mammals, I explore correlated homoplasy associated with functional/ecological transitions, with a view to untangling phylogenetic incongruence between anatomical regions for the affinities of several enigmatic taxa, including monotremes and multituberculates. More generally I discuss how recent consilience of molecular and fossil evidence provides an opportunity to re-evaluate the ecological diversification of modern mammals. 

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