Evolutionary analysis of five bryophyte families using virtual fossils


  • Richard H. Zander Missouri Botanical Garden




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


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.


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How to Cite

Zander, R. H. (2009). Evolutionary analysis of five bryophyte families using virtual fossils. Anales Del Jardín Botánico De Madrid, 66(2), 263–277. https://doi.org/10.3989/ajbm.2224