Molecular Phylogenetics of New World Emballonurid Bats

Molecular Phylogenetics of New World Emballonurid Bats

Phylogeny, Times of Divergence, Biogeography, and Evolutionary Patterns in Morphology and Behaviour

LAP Lambert Academic Publishing ( 2009-05-26 )

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South America was an insular continent for most of the Tertiary, but it has the highest species diversity for many organismal groups. Since early explorations, biologists have been asking why South America has high biodiversity and how organisms got there during long periods of isolation. I address these questions of evolution using sheath-tailed bats (family Emballonuridae) as a study group. A molecular phylogeny was produced based on a phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequences from unlinked loci from the 4 components of genetic transmission found in mammals. Optimization of areas suggests that the ancestor of New World emballonurids had its origin in Africa. Divergence times were estimated with a relaxed clock approach and primary diversification in South America occurred during the Miocene. A study of historical biogeography indicated that the ancestral area was the Northern Amazon. Character mapping indicated a correlation of ear morphology with echolocation call design and foraging behaviour, which suggests a phylogenetic basis to the evolution of these character systems. These results will be of interest to biologists researching systematic biology, evolution, and biogeography.

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Burton K. Lim

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