author={Luke J. Harmon and Jonathan B. Losos and T. Jonathan Davies and Rosemary G. Gillespie and John L. Gittleman and W Bryan Jennings and Kenneth H Kozak and Mark A. McPeek and Franck Moreno-Roark and Thomas J. Near and Andy Purvis and Robert E. Ricklefs and Dolph Schluter and James A. Schulte II and O. Seehausen and Brian L. Sidlauskas and Omar Torres‐Carvajal and Jason T. Weir and Arne O. Mooers},
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 on body size and shape in a diversity of animal clades to test a key model of adaptive radiation, in which initially rapid morphological… 

Iterative adaptive radiations of fossil canids show no evidence for diversity-dependent trait evolution

  • G. Slater
  • Environmental Science, Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2015
No relationship between past diversity and rates of body size or tooth shape evolution is found in the rich fossil record of North American canids, and models implying time- and diversity-dependent rates of morphological evolution are strongly rejected for two ecologically important traits.

Cope's rule and the adaptive landscape of dinosaur body size evolution

It is found that dinosaur evolution is constrained by attraction to discrete body size optima that undergo rare, but abrupt, evolutionary shifts, demonstrating that bimodality in the macroevolutionary adaptive landscape for land vertebrates has existed for more than 200 million years.

Pulsed evolution shaped modern vertebrate body sizes

A set of models, called Lévy processes, are proposed to attempt to reconcile rapid evolution between species with the relatively stable distributions of phenotypes seen within species, and it is found that a plurality of modern vertebrate clades examined are best fitted by pulsed processes over models of incremental change, stationarity, and adaptive radiation.

Repeated evolution of terrestrial lineages in a continental lizard radiation

This study demonstrates a delayed increase in morphological disparity as a result of the evolution of terrestrial ecomorphs, and finds that disparity in toepad morphology accumulated more recently ~14 Mya and fit the Ornstein‐Ulhenbeck model.

Phylogenetic analyses suggest that diversification and body size evolution are independent in insects

The results indicate that within hexapods, and within the limits of current systematic and phylogenetic knowledge, insect diversification is generally unfettered by size-biased macro-evolutionary processes, and that these processes over large timescales tend to converge on apparently neutral evolutionary processes.

Hierarchy in adaptive radiation: A case study using the Carnivora (Mammalia)

  • G. SlaterA. Friscia
  • Environmental Science, Biology
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 2019
Evaluating the support for an early burst model of adaptive radiation in 14 ecomorphological traits plus body mass for the extant mammalian order Carnivora and its constituent families finds strong support for early bursts of dental evolution, suggesting a classic Simpsonian adaptive radiation along dietary resource axes.

Mixed evidence for early bursts of morphological evolution in extant clades

The prevalence of early bursts in extant data is tested using phylogenetic comparative methods and a nested early burst model is compared to other modes of evolution that can occur within subclades, such as evolution with a constraint and nested BM rate shift models.

Body Shape Evolution in Sunfishes: Divergent Paths to Accelerated Rates of Speciation in the Centrarchidae

It is found that centrarchids partitioned body shape early in their evolutionary history, a pattern that is largely associated with expansion into divergent foraging niches and elaboration of sexual ornamentation.

Multiple factors behind early diversification of skull morphology in the continental radiation of New World monkeys *

It is shown that despite the platyrrhine radiation being old and geographically widespread, the formative patterns arising from the initial stages of diversification probably associated with an adaptive radiation can still be recognized today and highlighted the evident complexity behind large‐scale evolutionary radiations.

Body Size Evolution in Mammals: Complexity in Tempo and Mode

It is concluded that the evolution of mammalian body size has been influenced by a complex interplay among geography, climate, and history.



Density-Dependent Cladogenesis in Birds

A meta-analysis of the distribution of speciation events through time for 45 clades of birds shows a model of density-dependent speciation in birds, whereby speciation slows as ecological opportunities and geographical space place limits on clade growth.

The pace of modern life II: from rates of contemporary microevolution to pattern and process.

The results suggest that macroevolutionary transitions may ultimately arise through microevolution occasionally ‘writ large’ but are perhaps temporally characterized by microev evolution ‘ writes in fits and starts’.

Density-dependent diversification in North American wood warblers

  • D. RaboskyI. Lovette
  • Environmental Science, Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2008
This work develops a new conceptual framework that distinguishes density dependence from alternative processes that also produce temporally declining diversification, and demonstrates this approach using a new phylogeny of North American Dendroica wood warblers and suggests that the tempo of wood warbler diversification was mediated by ecological interactions among species.

The Ecological Dynamics of Clade Diversification and Community Assembly

The metacommunity model predicts that clades showing decelerating lineage accumulation rates are those that have diversified by ecological modes of speciation, whereasClades showing accelerating lineage accumulation Rates are those That have diversify primarily by modes of Speciation that generate little or no ecological diversification.


Investigating whether comparisons of morphological diversity can be used to identify differences in ecological diversity in two sister clades of centrarchid fishes found that Lepomis exhibits 4.4 and 7.4 times more variance than Micropterus on the first two principal components.

The Rate of Morphological Evolution in Mammals from the Standpoint of the Neutral Expectation

  • M. Lynch
  • Biology
    The American Naturalist
  • 1990
The data suggest that, immediately after reproductive isolation, most lineages diverge morphologically at approximately the neutral rate and that this rate declines over evolutionary time, which suggests that the apparently rapid rates of morphological evolution in modern manrelative to other mammals and in mammals relative to other vertebrates are artifacts of temporal scaling.

Evolutionary patterns in early tetrapods. I. Rapid initial diversification followed by decrease in rates of character change

The results implicate biological explanations for this pattern of decreasing rates of change over time for Palaeozoic limbed tetrapods, which is difficult to ascribe to sampling biases or methodological biases.

Simultaneous Quaternary Radiations of Three Damselfly Clades across the Holarctic

Analysis of phylogenetic analyses of three radiating clades within the northern clade show similar, complex recent histories to produce 17 Nearctic and four Palearctic extant species, suggesting that recent climate fluctuations resulted in radiations driven by similar combinations of speciation processes acting in different lineages.

Conservatism and diversification of plant functional traits: Evolutionary rates versus phylogenetic signal

  • D. Ackerly
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2009
Independent contrasts are used to estimate rates of evolution for continuous traits under a Brownian motion model of evolution and a unit for the rate of phenotypic diversification is introduced: the felsen, in honor of J. Felsenstein.

Paleontology and the Comparative Method: Ancestral Node Reconstructions versus Observed Node Values

  • P. D. Polly
  • Environmental Science
    The American Naturalist
  • 2001
This study uses a fully resolved phylogeny of fossil carnivorans to compare observed ancestral node values with node estimates based on a Brownian motion model of evolution, and finds that evolution of at least some traits is conservative enough for node reconstruction techniques to be useful, despite their large standard errors.