Jun 23, 2012

A total-evidence approach to dating with fossils, applied to the early radiation of the hymenoptera

Systematic Biology
Fredrik RonquistAlexandr P Rasnitsyn

Abstract

Phylogenies are usually dated by calibrating interior nodes against the fossil record. This relies on indirect methods that, in the worst case, misrepresent the fossil information. Here, we contrast such node dating with an approach that includes fossils along with the extant taxa in a Bayesian total-evidence analysis. As a test case, we focus on the early radiation of the Hymenoptera, mostly documented by poorly preserved impression fossils that are difficult to place phylogenetically. Specifically, we compare node dating using nine calibration points derived from the fossil record with total-evidence dating based on 343 morphological characters scored for 45 fossil (4--20 complete) and 68 extant taxa. In both cases we use molecular data from seven markers (∼5 kb) for the extant taxa. Because it is difficult to model speciation, extinction, sampling, and fossil preservation realistically, we develop a simple uniform prior for clock trees with fossils, and we use relaxed clock models to accommodate rate variation across the tree. Despite considerable uncertainty in the placement of most fossils, we find that they contribute significantly to the estimation of divergence times in the total-evidence analysis. In particular, the po...Continue Reading

  • References46
  • Citations178

References

  • References46
  • Citations178

Citations

Mentioned in this Paper

Hymenoptera
Phylogeny
Biologic Preservation
Two-Parameter Models
Posterior Pituitary Disease
Genetic Speciation
Fossils

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