The Refugial Debate

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Science  25 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5457, pp. 1406-1407
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5457.1406

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The refugial theory of biodiversity proposes that isolated locales (refugia) where animals and plants continued to exist during cold-stages of the Quaternary period resulted in the development of new species (speciation). In a Perspective, Willis explores evidence that supports the influence of refugia on speciation in temperate zones. However, it is becoming clear that speciation in the tropics cannot be attributed to refugia alone; other factors acting long before the Quaternary must have been involved.