By Avice J
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Extra info for Evolutionary Pathways in Nature A Phylogenetic Approach
On almost any tropical or temperate shoreline around the world, hordes of these animals can be seen scurrying about in their architecturally diverse travel homes, which they have salvaged from the deceased of numerous mollusk species. Hermit crabs are also common in a fossil record that extends back more than 150 million years. Thus, the adopt-a-home lifestyle has been a highly successful alternative to the construct-your-own-exoskeleton strategy employed by most other crustaceans. The coiled shape of the hermit body is unusual among crabs, most other forms of which possess a straight abdomen and a tail that typically remains safely tucked under the animal’s thorax.
In some cases, phylogenetic analyses of fossil DNA have yielded evolutionary insights that could not have emerged from molecular examinations of living species alone. Michael Bunce and his colleagues (2005) provided a fine example in their recent genetic study of one of the largest flying birds the world has ever known: New Zealand’s extinct Haast’s Eagle (Harpagornis moorei ). New Zealand has been a particularly fascinating evolutionary theatre owing to its diverse topography and longstanding physical isolation from Australia and other continents of the Southern Hemisphere.
A) The traditional scenario based on phylogenetic analyses of many morphological characters. (B) An alternative scenario based on phylogenetic analyses of numerous molecular characters. Because all loci in the mitochondrial genome are genetically linked and evolve as a unit, an mtDNA phylogeny is a quintessential example of a gene tree. Theory has shown that the topology of any gene tree (mitochondrial or nuclear) can differ from the consensus topology of a species tree for any of several reasons ultimately relating to genomic sampling errors.
Evolutionary Pathways in Nature A Phylogenetic Approach by Avice J