Initial Diversification of Living Amphibians Predated the Breakup of Pangaea

  title={Initial Diversification of Living Amphibians Predated the Breakup of Pangaea},
  author={Diego San Mauro and Miguel Vences and Marina Alcobendas and Rafael Zardoya and Axel Meyer},
  journal={The American Naturalist},
  pages={590 - 599}
The origin and divergence of the three living orders of amphibians (Anura, Caudata, Gymnophiona) and their main lineages are one of the most hotly debated topics in vertebrate evolution. Here, we present a robust molecular phylogeny based on the nuclear RAG1 gene as well as results from a variety of alternative independent molecular clock calibrations. Our analyses suggest that the origin and early divergence of the three living amphibian orders dates back to the Palaeozoic or early Mesozoic… 
Focal Review: The Origin(s) of Modern Amphibians
The present paper reviews the impact of this fossil on morphological and molecular phylogenies, and divergence timing estimates based on molecular models and the fossil record, and raises questions over either the validity of morphological analyses that support lissamphibian polyphyly or about the possibility of long branch attraction given the short internal divergences and long subsequent branches.
Global patterns of diversification in the history of modern amphibians
A phylogenetic timetree based on a multigene data set of 3.75 kb for 171 species reveals several episodes of accelerated amphibian diversification, which do not fit models of gradual lineage accumulation.
Correlating early evolution of parasitic platyhelminths to Gondwana breakup.
The presence of polystome parasites in specific anuran host clades and in discrete geographic areas reveals the importance of biogeographic vicariance in diversification processes and supports the occurrence and radiation of amphibians over ancient and recent geological periods.
Phylogenomics reveals rapid, simultaneous diversification of three major clades of Gondwanan frogs at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary
It is found that ∼88% of living frogs originated from three principal lineages that arose at the end of the Mesozoic, coincident with the Cretaceous–Paleogene mass extinction event that decimated nonavian dinosaurs 66 Mya.
The origin of modern amphibians: a re-evaluation
A matrix based on data from all three hypotheses and analysed key taxa phylogenetically using both Bayesian inference and parsimony supported the temnospondyl hypothesis of lissamphibian origins.
Fossils, molecules, divergence times, and the origin of Salamandroidea
  • Jason S. Anderson
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2012
A study in PNAS shows that rapprochement within at least salamander phylogeny may be within grasp, with molecular estimates being much older than the fossil record suggests.
Phylogeny, evolution, and biogeography of Asiatic Salamanders (Hynobiidae).
It is hypothesized that the interior desertification from Mongolia to Western Asia began approximately 50 Mya; the Tibetan plateau experienced rapid uplift approximately 40 Mya and reached an altitude of at least 2,500 m; and the Ailao-Red River shear zone underwent the most intense orogenic movement approximately 24 Mya.
Molecular phylogeny of frogs (Amphibia: Anura) based on complete mitochondrial genomes and partial nuclear genes
A sequence data set combining complete mitochondrial genomes and nine nuclear loci was used to estimate a molecular phylogeny of frogs and tackle long-standing contentious questions, suggesting that the 5' end of the control region is a hot spot of gene rearrangement in frogs.


Molecular evidence for the early history of living amphibians.
Evidence from the DNA sequences of four mitochondrial genes that challenges the conventional hypothesis and supports a salamander-caecilian relationship is presented and suggests a more recent (Mesozoic) origin for salamanders and caecilians directly linked to the initial breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea.
On the origin of and phylogenetic relationships among living amphibians
  • R. Zardoya, A. Meyer
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 2001
Strong support of the Batrachia hypothesis from both molecule- and morphology-based studies provides a robust phylogenetic framework that will be helpful to comparative studies among the three living orders of amphibians and will permit better understanding of the considerably divergent vertebral, brain, and digit developmental patterns found in frogs and salamanders.
Adult anatomy and patterns of development in frogs and salamanders support their origin from different families of dissorophoid labyrinthodonts, and the ancestry of amniotes apparently lies among very early anthracosaurs.
New frog family from India reveals an ancient biogeographical link with the Seychelles
A burrowing frog from India that is noticeably distinct from known taxa in all anuran families is found and recognized as a new family because of its very distinct morphology and an inferred origin that is earlier than several neobatrachian families.
Molecular synapomorphies resolve evolutionary relationships of extant jawed vertebrates
This tree confirms that chondrichthyans are basal to all living gnathostomes, that lungfishes (Dipnoi) are the closest living relatives of tetrapods, and that bichirs are the living members of the most ancient family of ray-finned fishes.
Multiple overseas dispersal in amphibians
  • M. Vences, D. Vieites, A. Meyer
  • Environmental Science, Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 2003
The results provide the strongest evidence so far that overseas dispersal of amphibians exists and is no rare exception, although vicariance certainly retains much of its importance in explaining amphibian biogeography.
An Early Jurassic caecilian with limbs
The discovery of an extensive series of Early Jurassic caecilians is reported which extends the fossil record of the group and reveals numerous features, including limbs, that are unknown among modern species.
Earliest known crown-group salamanders
The discovery of well-preserved Middle Jurassic salamander from China constitutes the earliest known record of crown-group urodeles (living salamanders and their closest relatives) and provides evidence to support the hypothesis that the divergence of the Cryptobranchidae from the Hynobiidae had taken place in Asia before the Middle Jurassic period.
Recent Advances in the (Molecular) Phylogeny of Vertebrates
A discussion of limitations of currently used molecular markers and phylogenetic methods as well as the contribution of molecular phylogenetic data to their resolution are presented.