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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(More)
What biological attributes predispose species to the risk of extinction? There are many hypotheses but so far there has been no systematic analysis for discriminating between them. Using complete phylogenies of contemporary carnivores and primates, we present, to our knowledge, the first comparative test showing that high trophic level, low population(More)
One way to build larger, more comprehensive phylogenies is to combine the vast amount of phylogenetic information already available. We review the two main strategies for accomplishing this (combining raw data versus combining trees), but employ a relatively new variant of the latter: supertree construction. The utility of one supertree technique, matrix(More)
The hierarchical nature of phylogenies means that random extinction of species affects a smaller fraction of higher taxa, and so the total amount of evolutionary history lost may be comparatively slight. However, current extinction risk is not phylogenetically random. We show the potentially severe implications of the clumped nature of threat for the loss(More)
The strength of phylogenetic signal in extinction risk can give insight into the mechanisms behind species' declines. Nevertheless, no existing measure of phylogenetic pattern in a binary trait, such as extinction-risk status, measures signal strength in a way that can be compared among data sets. We developed a new measure for phylogenetic signal of binary(More)
We present the first estimate of the phylogenetic relationships among all 916 extant and nine recently extinct species of bats Mammalia: Chiroptera), a group that accounts for almost one-quarter of extant mammalian diversity. This phylogeny was derived by combining 105 estimates of bat phylogenetic relationships published since 1970 using the supertree(More)
George Gaylord Simpson famously postulated that much of life's diversity originated as adaptive radiations-more or less simultaneous divergences of numerous lines from a single ancestral adaptive type. However, identifying adaptive radiations has proven difficult due to a lack of broad-scale comparative datasets. Here, we use phylogenetic comparative data(More)
The term 'biodiversity' is a simple contraction of 'biological diversity', and at first sight the concept is simple too: biodiversity is the sum total of all biotic variation from the level of genes to ecosystems. The challenge comes in measuring such a broad concept in ways that are useful. We show that, although biodiversity can never be fully captured by(More)
Systematists and comparative biologists commonly want to make statements about relationships among taxa that have never been collectively included in any single phylogenetic analysis. Construction of phylogenetic 'supertrees' provides one solution. Supertrees are estimates of phylogeny assembled from sets of smaller estimates (source trees) sharing some but(More)
Many large animal species have a high risk of extinction. This is usually thought to result simply from the way that species traits associated with vulnerability, such as low reproductive rates, scale with body size. In a broad-scale analysis of extinction risk in mammals, we find two additional patterns in the size selectivity of extinction risk. First,(More)