Freshwater crab origins–Laying Gondwana to rest

Please be informed of this newly published journal article by RMBR research associate Dr Darren Yeo in Zoologischer Anzeiger.

Dr Darren Yeo

Klaus, Sebastian, D. C. J. Yeo, S. T. Ahyong (2011) Freshwater crab origins-Laying Gondwana to rest. Zoologischer Anzeiger, DOI: 10.1016/j.jcz.2011.07.001.

Its abstract as follows:


We review the available data on the phylogeny, palaeontology and divergence time estimation of primary freshwater crabs in relation to a hypothesized Gondwanan origin of these brachyurans, as postulated by some workers in recent decades. Known phylogenetic relationships within the Old World freshwater crabs do not correspond to the successive fragmentation of the Gondwana continent. This is strong evidence against an ancestral Gondwanan distribution of Afrotropical Potamonautidae and Asian-Australian Gecarcinucidae. The fossil record of freshwater crabs (no older than the Oligocene) and heterotreme brachyurans also postdate the initial break up of Gondwana. Molecular-clock based time estimates for the most common recent ancestor of freshwater crab families differ profoundly, depending on the method of calibration used, and whether freshwater or marine brachyuran fossils are used as calibration points. As such, molecular clock estimates calibrated on freshwater crab fossils favour a post-Gondwanan evolution of freshwater crabs whereas calibration based on marine brachyuran fossils date their last common ancestor before the fragmentation of Gondwana.

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