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Evolutionary history of the Nesophontidae, the last unplaced Recent mammal family

Brace, S; Thomas, JA; Dalén, L; Burger, J; MacPhee, RDE; Barnes, I; Turvey, ST; (2016) Evolutionary history of the Nesophontidae, the last unplaced Recent mammal family. Molecular Biology and Evolution , 33 (12) pp. 3095-3103. 10.1093/molbev/msw186. Green open access

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Abstract

The mammalian evolutionary tree has lost several major clades through recent human-caused extinctions. This process of historical biodiversity loss has particularly affected tropical island regions such as the Caribbean, an area of great evolutionary diversification but poor molecular preservation. The most enigmatic of the recently extinct endemic Caribbean mammals are the Nesophontidae, a family of morphologically plesiomorphic lipotyphlan insectivores with no consensus on their evolutionary affinities, and which constitute the only major recent mammal clade to lack any molecular information on their phylogenetic placement. Here, we use a palaeogenomic approach to place Nesophontidae within the phylogeny of recent Lipotyphla. We recovered the near-complete mitochondrial genome and sequences for 17 nuclear genes from a ∼750-year-old Hispaniolan Nesophontes specimen, and identify a divergence from their closest living relatives, the Solenodontidae, more than 40 million years ago. Nesophontidae is thus an older distinct lineage than many extant mammalian orders, highlighting not only the role of island systems as “museums” of diversity that preserve ancient lineages, but also the major human-caused loss of evolutionary history.

Type: Article
Title: Evolutionary history of the Nesophontidae, the last unplaced Recent mammal family
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msw186
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msw186
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Molecular Biology and Evolution following peer review. The version of record Brace, S; Thomas, JA; Dalén, L; Burger, J; MacPhee, RDE; Barnes, I; Turvey, ST; (2016) Evolutionary history of the Nesophontidae, the last unplaced Recent mammal family. Molecular Biology and Evolution 10.1093/molbev/msw186 is available online at: http://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msw186
Keywords: Ancient DNA, Cenozoic, insectivore, systematics, tropics
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
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1514481
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