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Data from: Repeated evolution of carnivory among Indo-Australian rodents

Cite this dataset

Rowe, Kevin C.; Achmadi, Anang S.; Esselstyn, Jacob A. (2016). Data from: Repeated evolution of carnivory among Indo-Australian rodents [Dataset]. Dryad.


Convergent evolution, often observed in island archipelagos, provides compelling evidence for the importance of natural selection as a generator of species and ecological diversity. The Indo-Australian Archipelago (IAA) is the world's largest island system and encompasses distinct biogeographic units, including the Asian (Sunda) and Australian (Sahul) continental shelves, which together bracket the oceanic archipelagos of the Philippines and Wallacea. Each of these biogeographic units houses numerous endemic rodents in the family Muridae. Carnivorous murids, i.e., those that feed on animals, have evolved independently in Sunda, Sulawesi (part of Wallacea), the Philippines, and Sahul, but the number of origins of carnivory among IAA murids is unknown. We conducted a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of carnivorous murids of the IAA, combined with estimates of ancestral states for broad diet categories (herbivore, omnivore, and carnivore) and geographic ranges. These analyses demonstrate that carnivory evolved independently four times after over-water colonization, including in situ origins on the Philippines, Sulawesi, and Sahul. In each biogeographic unit the origin of carnivory was followed by evolution of more specialized carnivorous ecomorphs such as vermivores, insectivores, and amphibious rats.

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