Abstract

Integration between phylogenetic systematics and paleontological data has proved to be an effective method for identifying periods that lack fossil evidence in the evolutionary history of clades. In this study we aim to analyze whether there is any correlation between various ecomorphological variables and the duration of these underrepresented portions of lineages, which we call ghost lineages for simplicity, in ruminants. Analyses within phylogenetic (Generalized Estimating Equations) and non-phylogenetic (ANOVAs and Pearson correlations) frameworks were performed on the whole phylogeny of this suborder of Cetartiodactyla (Mammalia). This is the first time ghost lineages are focused in this way. To test the robustness of our data, we compared the magnitude of ghost lineages among different continents and among phylogenies pruned at different ages (4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 Ma). Differences in mean ghost lineage were not significantly related to either geographic or temporal factors. Our results indicate that the proportion of the known fossil record in ruminants appears to be influenced by the preservation potential of the bone remains in different environments. Furthermore, large geographical ranges of species increase the likelihood of preservation.

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