Neither phylogenomic nor palaeontological data support a Palaeogene origin of placental mammals

Mario Dos Reis*, Philip C J Donoghue, Ziheng Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

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

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

O'Leary et al. (O'Leary et al. 2013 Science 339, 662?667. (doi:10.1126/science. 1229237)) performed a fossil-only dating analysis of mammals, concluding that the ancestor of placentals post-dated the Cretaceous?Palaeogene boundary, contradicting previous palaeontological and molecular studies that placed the ancestor in theCretaceous. They incorrectly used fossil ages as species divergence times for crown groups, while in fact the former should merely form minimumage bounds for the latter. Statistical analyses of the fossil record have shown that crown groups are significantly older than the oldest ingroup fossil, so that fossils do not directly reflect the true ages of clades. Here, we analyse a 20 million nucleotide genome-scale alignment in conjunction with a probabilistic interpretation of the fossil ages from O'Leary et al. Our combined analysis of fossils and molecules demonstrates that Placentalia originated in the Cretaceous.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiology Letters
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Divergence time
  • Fossil
  • Placental mammal

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Neither phylogenomic nor palaeontological data support a Palaeogene origin of placental mammals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this