Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid, Vol 66, No 2 (2009)

Evolutionary analysis of five bryophyte families using virtual fossils


https://doi.org/10.3989/ajbm.2224

Richard H. Zander
Missouri Botanical Garden, United States

Abstract


Traditional taxa paraphyletic or polyphyletic on a molecular phylogenetic tree may be interpreted as populations of surviving ancestors that are evolutionarily static in expressed traits though labile in DNA traits used to track genetic continuity. In those cases in which re-evolution (convergence) of such taxa is deemed improbable, such heterophyly may be used to infer evolutionary series of virtual fossils reflecting macroevolution. Descent with modification of taxa is here demonstrated by reinterpreting published cladograms of molecular studies of Dicranaceae, Pottiaceae, Grimmiaceae, Hypopterygiaceae, and Mniaceae as taxon trees. Given this argument, superimposed inferred ancestors are support for the theory of punctuated equilibrium.

Keywords


virtual fossil; heterophyly; punctuated equilibrium; taxon tree; evolution; autophyletic; Grimmiaceae; Hypopterygiaceae; Mniaceae; Pottiaceae

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