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Re: Post–K-Pg Radiation of Placentals



The first response to the paper (as well as the authors' rebuttal):

Springer MS, Meredith RW, Teeling EC, Murphy WJ 2013 Technical comment
on "The placental mammal ancestor and the post-K-Pg radiation of
placentals". Science 341(6146): 613
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6146/613.2.full

O'Leary et al. (Research Article, 8 February 2013, p. 662) examined
mammalian relationships and divergence times and concluded that a
single placental ancestor crossed the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg)
boundary. This conclusion relies on phylogenetic analyses that fail to
discriminate between homology and homoplasy and further implies
virus-like rates of nucleotide substitution in early Paleocene
placentals.

O'Leary MA, Bloch JI, Flynn JJ, Gaudin TJ, Giallombardo A, Giannini
NP, Goldberg SL, Kraatz BP, Luo Z-X, Meng J, Ni X, Novacek MJ, Perini
FA, Randall Z, Rougier GW, Sargis EJ, Silcox MT, Simmons NB, Spaulding
M, Velazco PM, Weksler M, Wible JR, Cirranello AL 2013 Response to
comment on "The placental mammal ancestor and the post-K-Pg radiation
of placentals". Science 341(6146): 613
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6146/613.3.full

Tree-building with diverse data maximizes explanatory power.
Application of molecular clock models to ancient speciation events
risks a bias against detection of fast radiations subsequent to the
Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) event. Contrary to Springer et al.,
post-K-Pg placental diversification does not require "virus-like"
substitution rates. Even constraining clade ages to their model, the
explosive model best explains placental evolution.

-- 
David Černý