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The Amazonian rainforest is arguably the most species-rich terrestrial ecosystem in the world, yet the timing of the origin and evolutionary causes of this diversity are a matter of debate. We review the geologic and phylogenetic evidence from Amazonia and compare it with uplift records from the Andes. This uplift and its effect on regional climate(More)
Patterns of diversification and timing of evolution within Neoaves, which includes almost 95% of all bird species, are virtually unknown. On the other hand, molecular data consistently indicate a Cretaceous origin of many neoavian lineages and the fossil record seems to support an Early Tertiary diversification. Here, we present the first well-resolved(More)
A new method, PATHd8, for estimating ultrametric trees from trees with edge (branch) lengths proportional to the number of substitutions is proposed. The method allows for an arbitrary number of reference nodes for time calibration, each defined either as absolute age, minimum age, or maximum age, and the tree need not be fully resolved. The method is based(More)
Dating the Tree of Life has now become central to relating patterns of biodiversity to key processes in Earth history such as plate tectonics and climate change. Regions with a Mediterranean climate have long been noted for their exceptional species richness and high endemism. How and when these biota assembled can only be answered with a good understanding(More)
A molecular dating of the phylogenetically basal eudicots (Ranunculales, Proteales, Sabiales, Buxales and Trochodendrales sensu Angiosperm Phylogeny Group II) has been performed using several fossils as minimum age constraints. All rbcL sequences available in GenBank were sampled for the taxa in focus. Dating was performed using penalized likelihood, and(More)
The structural and functional analysis of rRNA molecules has attracted considerable scientific interest. Empirical studies have demonstrated that sequence variation is not directly translated into modifications of rRNA secondary structure. Obviously, the maintenance of secondary structure and sequence variation are in part governed by different selection(More)
PREMISE OF THE STUDY Several members of Selaginella are renowned for their ability to survive extreme drought and "resurrect" when conditions improve. Many of these belong to subgenus Tetragonostachys, a group of ∼45 species primarily found in North and Central America, with substantial diversity in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts. We evaluated the(More)
Lepidosauria (lizards, snakes, tuatara) is a globally distributed and ecologically important group of over 9,000 reptile species. The earliest fossil records are currently restricted to the Late Triassic and often dated to 227 million years ago (Mya). As these early records include taxa that are relatively derived in their morphology (e.g. Brachyrhinodon),(More)
We here explore the use of a Bayesian approach to island biogeography for disentangling the evolutionary origins of a continental-scale floristic pattern, the enigmatic 'Rand Flora'. The existence of disjunct distributions across many plant lineages between Macaronesia-northwest Africa, Horn of Africa-southern Arabia and east-south Africa has long intrigued(More)
Plant pathogenic fungi are a large and diverse assemblage of eukaryotes with substantial impacts on natural ecosystems and human endeavours. These taxa often have complex and poorly understood life cycles, lack observable, discriminatory morphological characters, and may not be amenable to in vitro culturing. As a result, species identification is(More)