Bringing Together the Living and Dead: Integrating Extant and Fossil Biodiversity in Evolutionary Studies
Oakley, TH .
Fossil and molecular evolutionary divergences: Ostracoda (Crustacea) as a starting point for database and synthesis.
THE central aim of macroevolutionary research is to measure and compare evolutionary changes over time. Yet measurements of evolutionary time are controversial. Evolutionists have still not reached consensus about the timing of origins of major taxa like bilateral animals, flowering plants, mammals or birds – not to mention smaller clades with poorer fossil records. This lack of consensus highlights a central controversy in the field of evolution: the reliability and interpretation of divergence time studies. Can we trust molecular estimates of divergence times, even when they conflict significantly with the fossil record? How reliable is the fossil record for estimating origins of taxa? Are some lineage attributes, such as preservation potential, related to accuracy of fossil estimates of first appearances? Do some attributes of molecular data make accurate divergence time estimates impossible? Do we expect genetic divergences always to coincide with morphological divergences? How do different estimates of evolutionary time affect our conclusions about evolution? To address these questions, I've established a NESCent-funded working group to create an integrated database that will allow re¬searchers to address these fundamental questions. The FAMED (Fossil and Molecular Evolutionary Divergences) database aims to compile and integrate fossil calibration points and available molecular data. I will discuss preliminary investigations of these hypotheses using a small dataset from my own research on Ostracoda (Crustacea).
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1 - University of California-Santa Barbara, Ecology Evolution Marine Biology, Ecology Evolution Marine Biology, Santa Barbara, California, 93106, USA
divergence time estimates
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: 134/Performing Arts Center
Date: Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
Time: 4:45 PM