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Trends Ecol Evol. 2000 Aug;15(8):311-315.

Areas, cradles and museums: the latitudinal gradient in species richness.


Although numerous factors are postulated to be responsible for the gradient of increasing taxon richness towards lower latitudes, it has recently been suggested that the primary determinant is geographic area. This area model is appealing in its logic, but there is little empirical evidence to support it and several other mechanisms might also interact to obscure its effects. Nonetheless, the model has highlighted several fundamental issues concerning range size, speciation and extinction that, despite their considerable significance, remain poorly understood.

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