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Extant species fail to estimate ancestral geographical ranges at older nodes in primate phylogeny

Citation

Wisniewski, Anna; Lloyd, Graeme T.; Slater, Graham J. (2022), Extant species fail to estimate ancestral geographical ranges at older nodes in primate phylogeny, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4j0zpc8cz

Abstract

A clade’s evolutionary history is shaped, in part, by geographical range expansion, sweepstakes dispersal and local extinction. A rigorous understanding of historical biogeography may therefore yield insights into macroevolutionary dynamics such as adaptive radiation. Modern historical biogeographic analyses typically fit statistical models to molecular phylogenies, but it remains unclear whether extant species provide sufficient signal or if well-sampled phylogenies of extinct and extant taxa are necessary to produce meaningful estimates of past ranges. We investigated the historical biogeography of Primates and their euarchontan relatives using a novel meta-analytical phylogeny of over 900 extant ( n = 419) and extinct ( n = 483) species spanning their entire evolutionary history. Ancestral range estimates for young nodes were largely congruent with those derived from molecular phylogeny. However, node age exerts a significant effect on ancestral range estimate congruence, and the probability of congruent inference dropped below 0.5 for nodes older than the late Eocene, corresponding to the origins of higher-level clades. Discordance was not observed in analyses of extinct taxa alone. Fossils are essential for robust ancestral range inference and biogeographic analyses of extant clades originating in the deep past should be viewed with scepticism without them.