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Molecular evolutionary time scales are expected to predate the fossil evidence, but, particularly for major evolutionary radiations, they can imply extremely protracted stem lineages predating the origin of living clades, leading to claims of systematic overestimation of divergence times. We use macroevolutionary birth-death models to describe the range of total-group and crown-group ages expected under constant rates of speciation and extinction. We extend current predictions on origination times for crown- and total-groups, and extinction of stem-groups, demonstrating that there is broad variance in these predictions. Under constant rates of speciation and extinction, we show that the distribution of expected arthropod total-group ages is consistent with molecular clock estimates. The fossil record cannot be read literally, and our results preclude attempts to interpret the antiquity of clades based on the co-occurrence of stem- and crown-representatives.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
A.J.S.B. was supported by a BBSRC SWBio-DTP PhD studentship. P.C.J.D. and D.P. were funded by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) grant (NE/P013678/1), part of the Biosphere Evolution, Transitions and Resilience (BETR) programme, which is co-funded by the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). DP was also supported by a European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sk?odowska-Curie grant agreement 764840.
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- 3 Finished
25/03/16 → 31/12/21