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Article contents

The use of paleontology in systematics and biogeography, and a time control refinement for historical biogeography

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 April 2016

Lance Grande*
Affiliation:
Department of Geology, Field Museum of Natural History, Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60605

Abstract

Four main potential contributions of fossils to phylogenetic systematics and historical biogeography are (1) to provide additional taxa which (when sufficiently well preserved) can give new morphological and ontogenetic data in addition to those provided by Recent species; (2) to provide additional taxa which can increase the known biogeographic range of a taxon; (3) to help establish a minimum age for a taxon; and (4) to present fossil biotas that can be examined for biogeographic patterns not recognizable in younger (including the Recent) or older biotas.

The first three points have been expressed or at least implied by other workers and are only briefly reviewed. The fourth point is proposed as a method of using fossil biotas to provide time controls to cladistic studies of historical biogeography. Previously, cladistic vicariance biogeographers have used fossil plus Recent biotas, or the Recent biota alone, for the geographic areas of study. Such investigations that lack any time control in the data base cannot effectively deal with areas that have complex histories as, for example, an earlier area of endemism in which area relationships are later complicated through the addition of exotic taxa by dispersal. By using time controls provided by fossil biotas, we may learn more about the relationships of areas with complex histories and may reveal biogeographical information that is sometimes unavailable through examination of the Recent biota.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Paleontological Society 

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