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Eutherians experienced elevated evolutionary rates in the immediate aftermath of the Cretaceous-Palaeogene mass extinction.

Halliday, TJ; Upchurch, P; Goswami, A; (2016) Eutherians experienced elevated evolutionary rates in the immediate aftermath of the Cretaceous-Palaeogene mass extinction. Proceedings of the Royal Society B , 283 (1833) , Article 20153026. 10.1098/rspb.2015.3026. Green open access

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Abstract

The effect of the Cretaceous-Palaeogene (K-Pg) mass extinction on the evolution of many groups, including placental mammals, has been hotly debated. The fossil record suggests a sudden adaptive radiation of placentals immediately after the event, but several recent quantitative analyses have reconstructed no significant increase in either clade origination rates or rates of character evolution in the Palaeocene. Here we use stochastic methods to date a recent phylogenetic analysis of Cretaceous and Palaeocene mammals and show that Placentalia likely originated in the Late Cretaceous, but that most intraordinal diversification occurred during the earliest Palaeocene. This analysis reconstructs fewer than 10 placental mammal lineages crossing the K-Pg boundary. Moreover, we show that rates of morphological evolution in the 5 Myr interval immediately after the K-Pg mass extinction are three times higher than background rates during the Cretaceous. These results suggest that the K-Pg mass extinction had a marked impact on placental mammal diversification, supporting the view that an evolutionary radiation occurred as placental lineages invaded new ecological niches during the Early Palaeocene.

Type: Article
Title: Eutherians experienced elevated evolutionary rates in the immediate aftermath of the Cretaceous-Palaeogene mass extinction.
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.3026
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.3026
Language: English
Additional information: C2016 The authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Cretaceous, Palaeogene, evolutionary rate, extinction, mammals, radiation
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1493402
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