Rapid and recent origin of species richness in the Cape flora of south Africa

James E. Richardson, Frans M. Weitz, Michael F. Fay, Quentin C.B. Cronk, H. Peter Linder, G. Reeves, Mark W. Chase

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículo de Investigaciónrevisión exhaustiva

217 Citas (Scopus)


The Cape flora of South Africa grows in a continental area with many diverse and endemic species. We need to understand the evolutionary origins and ages of such 'hotspots' to conserve them effectively. In volcanic islands the timing of diversification can be precisely measured with potassium-argon dating. In contrast, the history of these continental species is based upon an incomplete fossil record and relatively imprecise isotopic palaeotemperature signatures. Here we use molecular phylogenetics and precise dating of two island species within the same clade as the continental taxa to show recent speciation in a species-rich genus characteristic of the Cape flora. The results indicate that diversification began approximately 7-8 Myr ago, coincident with extensive aridification caused by changes in ocean currents. The recent origin of endemic species diversity in the Cape flora shows that large continental bursts of speciation can occur rapidly over timescales comparable to those previously associated with oceanic island radiations.

Idioma originalInglés estadounidense
Páginas (desde-hasta)181-183
Número de páginas3
EstadoPublicada - jul. 12 2001
Publicado de forma externa

Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus

  • General


Profundice en los temas de investigación de 'Rapid and recent origin of species richness in the Cape flora of south Africa'. En conjunto forman una huella única.

Citar esto