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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 24(1)

‘Moa’s Ark’ or ‘Goodbye Gondwana’: is the origin of New Zealand’s terrestrial invertebrate fauna ancient, recent, or both?

Gonzalo Giribet A C, Sarah L. Boyer B

A Museum of Comparative Zoology, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
B Biology Department, Macalester College, 1600 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105, USA.
C Corresponding author. Email: ggiribet@oeb.harvard.edu
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Evaluating the hypothesis of New Zealand’s total submersion during the Oligocene requires the strictest tests, including sound phylogenetic data and dating of phylogenies. Although New Zealand has been traditionally considered to host ancient biota that originated by vicariance after it separated from Australia ~80 Mya, the ancient origins of its biota have been recently questioned, with some authors even suggesting that all current land organisms had to arrive to the islands after it re-emerged from the ocean 22 million years ago. Here we examine examples of short-range endemic soil-dwelling invertebrates and find compelling evidence that at least some of them are the result of old lineages that diversified in New Zealand before the hypothesised submersion event 22 million year ago. We conclude that New Zealand indeed has old lineages as well as recently diversified lineages and compare this situation with that of other more stable areas of the Neotropics.

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