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Frontiers of Biogeography

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Two sides of the same coin: extinctions and originations across the Atlantic/Indian Ocean boundary as consequences of the same climate oscillation


Global climate change is correlated not only with variation in extinction rates, but also with speciation rates. However, few mechanisms have been proposed to explain how climate change may have driven the emergence of new evolutionary lineages that eventually became distinct species. Here, we discuss a model of range extension followed by divergence, in which the same climate oscillations that resulted in the extinction of coastal species across the Atlantic/Indian Ocean boundary in southwestern Africa also sowed the seeds of new biodiversity. We present evidence for range extensions and evolutionary divergence from both fossil and genetic data, but also point out the many challenges to the model that need to be addressed before its validity can be accepted.

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