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Tempo and Mode of Evolutionary Radiation in Iguanian Lizards

Science  15 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5635, pp. 961-964
DOI: 10.1126/science.1084786

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Abstract

Identification of general properties of evolutionary radiations has been hindered by the lack of a general statistical and phylogenetic approach applicable across diverse taxa. We present a comparative analytical framework for examining phylogenetic patterns of diversification and morphological disparity with data from four iguanian-lizard taxa that exhibit substantially different patterns of evolution. Taxa whose diversification occurred disproportionately early in their evolutionary history partition more of their morphological disparity among, rather than within, subclades. This inverse relationship between timing of diversification and morphological disparity within subclades may be a general feature that transcends the historically contingent properties of different evolutionary radiations.

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