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Trends Ecol Evol. 1996;11(1):15-20.

Reconstructing shifts in diversification rates on phylogenetic trees.

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  • 1Section of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Few issues in evolutionary biology have received as much attention over the years or have generated as much controversy as those involving evolutionary rates. One unresolved issue is whether or not shifts in speclation and/or extinction rates are closely tied to the origin of 'key' innovations in evolution. This discussion has long been dominated by 'time-based' methods using data from the fossil record. Recently, however, attention has shifted to 'tree-based' methods, in which time, if It plays any role at all, is incorporated secondarily, usually based on molecular data. Tests of hypotheses about key innovations do require Information about phylogenetic relationships, and some of these tests can be implemented without any information about time. However, every effort should be made to obtain information about time, which greatly increases the power of such tests.


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