Chapter

A Molecular View on the Evolutionary History and Biogeography of Neotropical Carnivores (Mammalia, Carnivora)

Edited by Eduardo Eizirik

in Bones, Clones, and Biomes

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780226649191
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226649214 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226649214.003.0007
A Molecular View on the Evolutionary History and Biogeography of Neotropical Carnivores (Mammalia, Carnivora)

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This chapter addresses carnivoran diversification in the Neotropics by reviewing recent studies that employed molecular data sets for phylogenetic reconstructions and molecular dating. Most of the examples cover interfamilial and intergeneric splits, and discuss the implications of molecular-derived divergence dates for the interpretation of biogeographic patterns. In some cases, the discussion extends to intrageneric diversification, contrasting recent endemic clades (especially in the Felidae and Canidae) that show rapid divergences postdating the Great American Biotic Interchange (GABI) with others that have a more ancient history in the region. This is particularly the case with the Procyonidae, whose molecular dating analyses point not only to a much older origin than previously estimated, but also to splits between sister species that predate the GABI, contrary to traditional views on their historical biogeography. Overall, carnivores appear to be a remarkable group for investigating the diversity of biogeographic patterns and processes that characterize the history of the Neotropics, as diff erent clades have experienced disparate histories, with contrasting influences derived from the GABI.

Keywords: neotropical carnivores; morphological data; paleontology; Great American Biotic Interchange; carnivoran diversification; Neotropics

Chapter.  8064 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biological Sciences

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