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The fossil record suggests a rapid radiation of placental mammals following the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction 65 million years ago (Ma); nevertheless, molecular time estimates, while highly variable, are generally much older. Early molecular studies suffer from inadequate dating methods, reliance on the molecular clock, and simplistic and(More)
Current information on the conodonts Clydagnathus windsorensis (Globensky) and Promissum pulchrum Kovács-Endrödy, together with the latest interpretations of conodont hard tissues, are reviewed and it is concluded that sufficient evidence exists to justify interpretation of the conodonts on a chordate model. A new phylogenetic analysis is undertaken,(More)
A great tradition in macroevolution and systematics has been the ritual squabbling between palaeontologists and molecular biologists. But, because both sides were talking past each other, they could never agree. Practitioners in both fields should play to their strengths and work together: palaeontologists can provide minimum constraints on branching points(More)
Bayesian inference provides a powerful framework for integrating different sources of information (in particular, molecules and fossils) to derive estimates of species divergence times. Indeed, it is currently the only framework that can adequately account for uncertainties in fossil calibrations. We use 2 Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo programs,(More)
Data from living and extinct faunas of primitive vertebrates imply very different scenarios for the origin and evolution of the dermal and oral skeletal developmental system. A direct reading of the evolutionary relationships of living primitive vertebrates implies that the dermal scales, teeth, and jaws arose synchronously with a cohort of other characters(More)
permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Our ability to correlate biological evolution with climate change, geological evolution, and other historical patterns is essential to understanding the processes that shape biodiversity. Combining data from the fossil record(More)
Most living vertebrates are jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes), and the living jawless vertebrates (cyclostomes), hagfishes and lampreys, provide scarce information about the profound reorganization of the vertebrate skull during the evolutionary origin of jaws. The extinct bony jawless vertebrates, or 'ostracoderms', are regarded as precursors of jawed(More)
Recognition that conodonts were the earliest vertebrate group to experiment with skeletal biomineralization provides a window in which to study the origin and early evolution of this developmental system. It has been contended that the conodont skeleton comprised a classic suite of vertebrate hard tissues, while others suggest that conodont hard tissues(More)
Many of the features that distinguish the vertebrates from other chordates are derived from the neural crest, and it has long been argued that the emergence of this multipotent embryonic population was a key innovation underpinning vertebrate evolution. More recently, however, a number of studies have suggested that the evolution of the neural crest was(More)
The timing of divergences among metazoan lineages is integral to understanding the processes of animal evolution, placing the biological events of species divergences into the correct geological timeframe. Recent fossil discoveries and molecular clock dating studies have suggested a divergence of bilaterian phyla >100 million years before the Cambrian, when(More)