Deciphering ancient rapid radiations

James B. Whitfield, Peter J. Lockhart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A deeper phylogenetic understanding of ancient patterns of diversification would contribute to solving many problems in evolutionary biology, yet many of these phylogenies remain poorly resolved. Ancient rapid radiations pose a major challenge for phylogenetic analysis for two main reasons. First, the pattern to be deciphered, the order of divergence among lineages, tends to be supported by small amounts of data. Second, the time since divergence is large and, thus, the potential for misinterpreting phylogenetic information is great. Here, we review the underlying causes of difficulty in determining the branching patterns of diversification in ancient rapid radiations, and review novel data exploration tools that can facilitate understanding of these radiations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-265
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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