What is it about?

We created a new evolutionary tree of life for 6,000 mammal species using publicly available genetic data and a newly comprehensive approach to inferring ancestor-to-descendant relationships through time. Our approach considers the probability of different histories and timings of divergence as spread across 10,000 trees in the credible set, providing a helpful resource to researchers in conservation, ecology, and evolutionary biology.

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Why is it important?

This tree of life provides fully comparable evolutionary rate information across the phylogeny, particularly at the tree tips representing the last 10 million years of evolution, for use in understanding why some groups of mammals have more species than others and how evolutionary history interacts with the ecological present.


This work provides a needed resource for the modeling of ecological processes across mammals, from the causes of recent extinctions to the risks underlying zoonotic disease susceptibility of different species.

Nathan Upham
Arizona State University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Inferring the mammal tree: Species-level sets of phylogenies for questions in ecology, evolution, and conservation, PLoS Biology, December 2019, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000494.
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