A new study maps for the first time the evolutionary history of the world's terrestrial vertebrates: amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles.
A new study maps for the first time the evolutionary history of the world's terrestrial vertebrates: amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles. It explores how areas with large concentrations of evolutionarily distinct species are being impacted by our ever-increasing "human footprint."
Research for the study was led by Dr. Rikki Gumbs of the EDGE of Existence Programme at the Zoological Society of London and Imperial College London and Dr. James Rosindell of Imperial College London in collaboration with Prof. Shai Meiri of the School of Zoology at Tel Aviv University's George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences and Steinhardt Museum of Natural History and other colleagues. The study was published in Nature Communications on May 26.
"Being 'evolutionarily distinct' means that you have no close living relatives," explains Prof. Meiri, who generated and interpreted the reptile-related data for the study. "In other words, you are alone on your branch of the evolutionary tree of life. Aardvarks, crocodiles, and kiwis were all separated from their closest evolutionary relatives tens of millions of years ago and bear a unique evolutionary history.
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