Diversification dynamics of total-, stem-, and crown-groups are compatible with molecular clock estimates of divergence times

Alan J S Beavan*, Davide Pisani*, Philip C J Donoghue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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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.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabf2257
Number of pages8
JournalScience Advances
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding 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.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 The Authors, some rights reserved.


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