Evolution and dispersal of snakes across the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction.
Wills, Matthew A
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Klein, C. G., Pisani, D., Field, D. J., Lakin, R., Wills, M. A., & Longrich, N. R. (2021). Evolution and dispersal of snakes across the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction.. Nature communications, 12 (1) https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25136-y
Mass extinctions have repeatedly shaped global biodiversity. The Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction caused the demise of numerous vertebrate groups, and its aftermath saw the rapid diversification of surviving mammals, birds, frogs, and teleost fishes. However, the effects of the K-Pg extinction on the evolution of snakes-a major clade of predators comprising over 3,700 living species-remains poorly understood. Here, we combine an extensive molecular dataset with phylogenetically and stratigraphically constrained fossil calibrations to infer an evolutionary timescale for Serpentes. We reveal a potential diversification among crown snakes associated with the K-Pg mass extinction, led by the successful colonisation of Asia by the major extant clade Afrophidia. Vertebral morphometrics suggest increasing morphological specialisation among marine snakes through the Paleogene. The dispersal patterns of snakes following the K-Pg underscore the importance of this mass extinction event in shaping Earth's extant vertebrate faunas.
Animals, Birds, Fishes, Mammals, Snakes, Biodiversity, Phylogeny, Fossils, History, Ancient, Genetic Speciation, Extinction, Biological, Amphibians, Phylogeography, Animal Distribution, DNA, Ancient
Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg (10142968)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25136-y
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/329553
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/