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Review ["Telling the Evolutionary Time : Molecular Clocks and the Fossil Record" edited by Philip C. J. Donoghue and M. Paul Smith]

Phillips, Matthew (2005) Review ["Telling the Evolutionary Time : Molecular Clocks and the Fossil Record" edited by Philip C. J. Donoghue and M. Paul Smith]. Systematic Biology, 54(1), pp. 174-176.

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Abstract

Determining the temporal scale of biological evolution has traditionally been the preserve of paleontology, with the timing of species originations and major diversifications all being read from the fossil record. However, the ages of the earliest (correctly identified) records will underestimate actual origins due to the incomplete nature of the fossil record and the necessity for lineages to have evolved sufficiently divergent morphologies in order to be distinguished. The possibility of inferring divergence times more accurately has been promoted by the idea that the accumulation of genetic change between modern lineages can be used as a molecular clock (Zuckerkandl and Pauling, 1965). In practice, though, molecular dates have often been so old as to be incongruent even with liberal readings of the fossil record. Prominent examples include inferred diversifications of metazoan phyla hundreds of millions of years before their Cambrian fossil record appearances (e.g., Nei et al., 2001) and a basal split between modern birds (Neoaves) that is almost double the age of their earliest recognizable fossils (e.g., Cooper and Penny, 1997).

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ID Code: 50523
Item Type: Review
Additional Information: Telling the Evolutionary Time: Molecular Clocks and the Fossil Record.—Philip C. J. Donoghue, and M. Paul Smith. , editors. (Systematics Association Special Volumes, v. 66). 2003. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida. 296 pp. ISBN 0–4152–7524–5. $109.95.
Keywords: biological evolution, paleontology, fossil record
DOI: 10.1080/10635150590905858
ISSN: 1076-836X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY (060300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > GENETICS (060400)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 23 May 2012 08:19
Last Modified: 23 May 2012 08:20

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