Controlling for the species-area effect supports constrained long-term Mesozoic terrestrial vertebrate diversification

Nature Communications
R A CloseRichard J Butler

Abstract

Variation in the geographic spread of fossil localities strongly biases inferences about the evolution of biodiversity, due to the ubiquitous scaling of species richness with area. This obscures answers to key questions, such as how tetrapods attained their tremendous extant diversity. Here, we address this problem by applying sampling standardization methods to spatial regions of equal size, within a global Mesozoic-early Palaeogene data set of non-flying terrestrial tetrapods. We recover no significant increase in species richness between the Late Triassic and the Cretaceous/Palaeogene (K/Pg) boundary, strongly supporting bounded diversification in Mesozoic tetrapods. An abrupt tripling of richness in the earliest Palaeogene suggests that this diversity equilibrium was reset following the K/Pg extinction. Spatial heterogeneity in sampling is among the most important biases of fossil data, but has often been overlooked. Our results indicate that controlling for variance in geographic spread in the fossil record significantly impacts inferred patterns of diversity through time.

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Citations

May 2, 2019·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Gemma Louise BeneventoMatt Friedman
Feb 14, 2018·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Emma M DunneRichard J Butler
Jun 18, 2020·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Bethany J AllenAlexander M Dunhill
Apr 8, 2020·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·R A CloseRichard J Butler
Mar 27, 2019·Nature Ecology & Evolution·Linda C Ivany, Jesse Czekanski-Moir
Feb 20, 2019·Nature Ecology & Evolution·R A CloseRichard J Butler
Jul 8, 2020·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Haijun SongAlexander M Dunhill
Jul 28, 2018·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Christopher D Whalen, Derek E G Briggs
Apr 25, 2020·Science·R A CloseRichard J Butler
Dec 17, 2019·Current Biology : CB·Gwen S AntellErin E Saupe
Feb 25, 2021·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Lewis A JonesPeter A Allison

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