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Taxonomic evolution in North American Neogene horses (subfamily Equinae): the rise and fall of an adaptive radiation

  • Richard C. Hulbert (a1)

Abstract

The 18 m.y. history of the subfamily Equinae (exclusive of Archaeohippus and “Parahippus”) in North America consisted of a 3-m.y. radiation phase, a 9-m.y. steady-state diversity phase, and a 6-m.y. reduction phase. During the steady-state phase, species richness varied between 14 and 20, with two maxima at about 13.5 and 6.5 Ma. Species richness of the tribes Hipparionini and Equini was about equal through the middle Miocene, but hipparionines consistently had more species in the late Miocene and early Pliocene. Overall mean species duration was 3.2 m.y. (n = 50), or an average extinction rate of 0.31 m.y.-1 During the radiation phase, speciation rates were very high (0.5 to 1.4 m.y.-1), while extinction rates were low (<0.10 m.y.-1). Speciation and extinction rates both averaged about 0.15 m.y.-1 during the steady-state phase, with extinction rates having more variation. Extinction rates increased fourfold during the reduction phase, while speciation rates declined slightly. Late Hemphillian extinctions affected both tribes severely, not just the three-toed hipparionines, and were correlated with global climatic change.

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Taxonomic evolution in North American Neogene horses (subfamily Equinae): the rise and fall of an adaptive radiation

  • Richard C. Hulbert (a1)

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