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Saturday, 11 October 2014

Evolution of Rallidae species. PLoS One, 2014; 9(10)

Eocene diversification of crown group rails (aves: gruiformes: rallidae)

GarcĂ­a-R JC, Gibb GC, Trewick SA

Author information:
Phoenix Lab, Ecology Group, Institute of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 7;9(10):e109635. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109635. eCollection 2014.


Central to our understanding of the timing of bird evolution is debate about an apparent conflict between fossil and molecular data. A deep age for higher level taxa within Neoaves is evident from molecular analyses but much remains to be learned about the age of diversification in modern bird families and their evolutionary ecology. In order to better understand the timing and pattern of diversification within the family Rallidae we used a relaxed molecular clock, fossil calibrations, and complete mitochondrial genomes from a range of rallid species analysed in a Bayesian framework. The estimated time of origin of Rallidae is Eocene, about 40.5 Mya, with evidence of intrafamiliar diversification from the Late Eocene to the Miocene. This timing is older than previously suggested for crown group Rallidae, but fossil calibrations, extent of taxon sampling and substantial sequence data give it credence. We note that fossils of Eocene age tentatively assigned to Rallidae are consistent with our findings. Compared to available studies of other bird lineages, the rail clade is old and supports an inference of deep ancestry of ground-dwelling habits among Neoaves.

Free Article 

PMID: 25291147 [PubMed - in process]

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