Mark N. Puttick

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Most of life is extinct, so incorporating some fossil evidence into analyses of macroevolution is typically seen as necessary to understand the diversification of life and patterns of morphological evolution. Here we test the effects of inclusion of fossils in a study of the body size evolution of afrotherian mammals, a clade that includes the elephants,(More)
The origin of birds (Aves) is one of the great evolutionary transitions. Fossils show that many unique morphological features of modern birds, such as feathers, reduction in body size, and the semilunate carpal, long preceded the origin of clade Aves, but some may be unique to Aves, such as relative elongation of the forelimb. We study the evolution of body(More)
Angiosperms represent one of the key examples of evolutionary success, and their diversity dwarfs other land plants; this success has been linked, in part, to genome size and phenomena such as whole genome duplication events. However, while angiosperms exhibit a remarkable breadth of genome size, evidence linking overall genome size to diversity is(More)
Understanding animal terrestrialization, the process through which animals colonized the land, is crucial to clarify extant biodiversity and biological adaptation. Arthropoda (insects, spiders, centipedes and their allies) represent the largest majority of terrestrial biodiversity. Here we implemented a molecular palaeobiological approach, merging molecular(More)
Dating the origin of Placentalia has been a contentious issue for biologists and paleontologists. Although it is likely that crown-group placentals originated in the Late Cretaceous, nearly all molecular clock estimates point to a deeper Cretaceous origin. An approach with the potential to reconcile this discrepancy could be the application of a(More)
Ancestral state reconstruction of discrete character traits is often vital when attempting to understand the origins and homology of traits in living species. The addition of fossils has been shown to alter our understanding of trait evolution in extant taxa, but researchers may avoid using fossils alongside extant species if only few are known, or if the(More)
Different analytical methods can yield competing interpretations of evolutionary history and, currently, there is no definitive method for phylogenetic reconstruction using morphological data. Parsimony has been the primary method for analysing morphological data, but there has been a resurgence of interest in the likelihood-based Mk-model. Here, we test(More)
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