Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Wednesday Seminar

4:10 PM, 55 Roessler
Tea and cookies at 3:45 in the aviary - (2110 EPS)

“From Cambrian Trilobites to Modern Brachiopods: New Approaches in Phylogenetic Paleobiology”

      – by David Bapst, University of California, Davis

While paleontologists have long involved themselves in the inference of evolutionary relationships (phylogenetic hypotheses), the typical operating procedure for phylogenetic paleobiology changed little for decades. Some aspects, such as recognizing direct ancestor-descendant relationships in the fossil record, has long been done qualitatively, but it was difficult to quantify statistical support for such relationships. In the last few years, this has changed dramatically, with the development of new methodological approaches for inferring phylogenies containing fossil taxa, using fossil information for dating divergences phylogenies and using phylogenies of fossil taxa to address major questions of ecology and evolution in deep time. Recent development of new phylogenetic dating methods that directly include fossil taxa, such as cal3 and Bayesian tip-dating, allow for fossils to be inferred as sampled-ancestors a in a model-based framework. I will present empirical cases of applying these new methods, from across the Phanerozoic and the a range of bilaterian groups, including combined analysis of molecular and morphological datasets to assess the factors that lead to discordance between those datatypes, and the transformative potential of quantitative inference of ancestors on paleobiology.

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