PerspectiveECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION

The Inga--Newcomer or Museum Antiquity?

Science  21 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5538, pp. 2214-2216
DOI: 10.1126/science.1065310

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Summary

The lowland rainforests of the neotropics contain a remarkable diversity of plant and animal species. But is this diversity due to the age and climatic stability of tropical forest regions (museum hypothesis) or to their complexity, which promotes speciation (cradle of diversity hypothesis)? In a Perspective, Bermingham and Dick elegantly discuss a molecular phylogenetics study of the tropical rain forest genus Inga ( Richardson et al.). The results of this study suggest that at least in the case of this genus, speciation was rapid and recent, occurring between 3 and 6 million years ago.

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