Meredith, R. W., Janečka, J. E., Gatesy, J., Ryder, O. A., Fisher, C. A., Teeling, E. C., Goodbla, A., Eizirik, E., Simão, T. L. L., Stadler, T., Rabosky, D. L., Honeycutt, R. L., Flynn, J. J., Ingram, C. M., Steiner, C., Williams, T. L., Robinson, T. J., Burk-Herrick, A., Westerman, M., … Murphy, W. J. (2011). Impacts of the cretaceous terrestrial revolution and KPg extinction on mammal diversification. Science, 334(6055), 521–524.
Previous analyses of relations, divergence times, and diversification patterns among extant mammalian families have relied on supertree methods and local molecular clocks. We constructed a molecular supermatrix for mammalian families and analyzed these data with likelihood-based methods and relaxed molecular clocks. Phylogenetic analyses resulted in a robust phylogeny with better resolution than phylogenies from supertree methods. Relaxed clock analyses support the long-fuse model of diversification and highlight the importance of including multiple fossil calibrations that are spread across the tree. Molecular time trees and diversification analyses suggest important roles for the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution and Cretaceous-Paleogene (KPg) mass extinction in opening up ecospace that promoted interordinal and intraordinal diversification, respectively. By contrast, diversification analyses provide no support for the hypothesis concerning the delayed rise of present-day mammals during the Eocene Period.