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The meaning of birth and death (in macroevolutionary birth-death models)

Ezard, T. H. G., Pearson, Paul Nicholas, Aze, Tracy and Purvis, A. 2012. The meaning of birth and death (in macroevolutionary birth-death models). Biology Letters 8 (1) , pp. 139-142. 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0699

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Birth–death models are central to much macroevolutionary theory. The fundamental parameters of these models concern durations. Different species concepts realize different species durations because they represent different ideas of what birth (speciation) and death (extinction) mean. Here, we use Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera as a case study to ask: what are the dynamical consequences of changing the definition of birth and death? We show strong evidence for biotic constraints on diversification using evolutionary species, but less with morphospecies. Discussing reasons for this discrepancy, we emphasize that clarity of species concept leads to clarity of meaning when interpreting macroevolutionary birth–death models.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Q Science > QH Natural history
Uncontrolled Keywords: birth; death; extinction; speciation; species concept
Publisher: Royal Society
ISSN: 1744-9561
Funders: NERC
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:00

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