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Proc Biol Sci. 2012 Oct 22;279(1745):4148-55. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1393. Epub 2012 Aug 15.

Diversification rates and the latitudinal gradient of diversity in mammals.

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Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-UPF), Passeig Maritim de la Barceloneta 37, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.


The latitudinal gradient of species richness has frequently been attributed to higher diversification rates of tropical groups. In order to test this hypothesis for mammals, we used a set of 232 genera taken from a mammalian supertree and, additionally, we reconstructed dated Bayesian phylogenetic trees of 100 genera. For each genus, diversification rate was estimated taking incomplete species sampling into account and latitude was assigned considering the heterogeneity in species distribution ranges. For both datasets, we found that the average diversification rate was similar among all latitudinal bands. Furthermore, when we used phylogenetically independent contrasts, we did not find any significant correlation between latitude and diversification parameters, including different estimates of speciation and extinction rates. Thus, other factors, such as the dynamics of dispersal through time, may be required to explain the latitudinal gradient of diversity in mammals.

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