skip to main content


This content will become publicly available on November 12, 2024

Title: Putting the F into FBD analysis: tree constraints or morphological data?
Abstract

The fossilized birth–death (FBD) process provides an ideal model for inferring phylogenies from both extant and fossil taxa. Using this approach, fossils are directly integrated into the tree, leading to a statistically coherent prior on divergence times. Since fossils are typically not associated with molecular sequences, additional information is required to place fossils in the tree. We use simulations to evaluate two different approaches to handling fossil placement in FBD analyses: using topological constraints, where the user specifies monophyletic clades based on established taxonomy, or using total‐evidence analyses, which use a morphological data matrix in addition to the molecular alignment. We also explore how rate variation in fossil recovery or diversification rates impacts these approaches. We find that the extant topology is well recovered under all methods of fossil placement. Divergence times are similarly well recovered across all methods, with the exception of constraints which contain errors. We see similar patterns in datasets which include rate variation, however, relative errors in extant divergence times increase when more variation is included in the dataset, for all approaches using topological constraints, and particularly for constraints with errors. Finally, we show that trees recovered under the FBD model are more accurate than those estimated using non‐time calibrated inference. Overall, we show that both fossil placement approaches are reliable even when including uncertainty. Our results underscore the importance of core taxonomic research, including morphological data collection and species descriptions, irrespective of the approach to handling phylogenetic uncertainty using the FBD process.

 
more » « less
Award ID(s):
1759909 1556615
NSF-PAR ID:
10473861
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley-Blackwell
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Palaeontology
Volume:
66
Issue:
6
ISSN:
0031-0239
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Folk, Ryan (Ed.)
    Abstract Phylogenetic divergence-time estimation has been revolutionized by two recent developments: 1) total-evidence dating (or "tip-dating") approaches that allow for the incorporation of fossils as tips in the analysis, with their phylogenetic and temporal relationships to the extant taxa inferred from the data and 2) the fossilized birth-death (FBD) class of tree models that capture the processes that produce the tree (speciation, extinction, and fossilization) and thus provide a coherent and biologically interpretable tree prior. To explore the behavior of these methods, we apply them to marattialean ferns, a group that was dominant in Carboniferous landscapes prior to declining to its modest extant diversity of slightly over 100 species. We show that tree models have a dramatic influence on estimates of both divergence times and topological relationships. This influence is driven by the strong, counter-intuitive informativeness of the uniform tree prior, and the inherent nonidentifiability of divergence-time models. In contrast to the strong influence of the tree models, we find minor effects of differing the morphological transition model or the morphological clock model. We compare the performance of a large pool of candidate models using a combination of posterior-predictive simulation and Bayes factors. Notably, an FBD model with epoch-specific speciation and extinction rates was strongly favored by Bayes factors. Our best-fitting model infers stem and crown divergences for the Marattiales in the mid-Devonian and Late Cretaceous, respectively, with elevated speciation rates in the Mississippian and elevated extinction rates in the Cisuralian leading to a peak diversity of ${\sim}$2800 species at the end of the Carboniferous, representing the heyday of the Psaroniaceae. This peak is followed by the rapid decline and ultimate extinction of the Psaroniaceae, with their descendants, the Marattiaceae, persisting at approximately stable levels of diversity until the present. This general diversification pattern appears to be insensitive to potential biases in the fossil record; despite the preponderance of available fossils being from Pennsylvanian coal balls, incorporating fossilization-rate variation does not improve model fit. In addition, by incorporating temporal data directly within the model and allowing for the inference of the phylogenetic position of the fossils, our study makes the surprising inference that the clade of extant Marattiales is relatively young, younger than any of the fossils historically thought to be congeneric with extant species. This result is a dramatic demonstration of the dangers of node-based approaches to divergence-time estimation, where the assignment of fossils to particular clades is made a priori (earlier node-based studies that constrained the minimum ages of extant genera based on these fossils resulted in much older age estimates than in our study) and of the utility of explicit models of morphological evolution and lineage diversification. [Bayesian model comparison; Carboniferous; divergence-time estimation; fossil record; fossilized birth–death; lineage diversification; Marattiales; models of morphological evolution; Psaronius; RevBayes.] 
    more » « less
  2. Ryan Folk (Ed.)
    Phylogenetic divergence-time estimation has been revolutionized by two recent developments: 1) total-evidence dating (or "tip-dating") approaches that allow for the incorporation of fossils as tips in the analysis, with their phylogenetic and temporal relationships to the extant taxa inferred from the data and 2) the fossilized birth-death (FBD) class of tree models that capture the processes that produce the tree (speciation, extinction, and fossilization) and thus provide a coherent and biologically interpretable tree prior. To explore the behavior of these methods, we apply them to marattialean ferns, a group that was dominant in Carboniferous landscapes prior to declining to its modest extant diversity of slightly over 100 species. We show that tree models have a dramatic influence on estimates of both divergence times and topological relationships. This influence is driven by the strong, counter-intuitive informativeness of the uniform tree prior, and the inherent nonidentifiability of divergence-time models. In contrast to the strong influence of the tree models, we find minor effects of differing the morphological transition model or the morphological clock model. We compare the performance of a large pool of candidate models using a combination of posterior-predictive simulation and Bayes factors. Notably, an FBD model with epoch-specific speciation and extinction rates was strongly favored by Bayes factors. Our best-fitting model infers stem and crown divergences for the Marattiales in the mid-Devonian and Late Cretaceous, respectively, with elevated speciation rates in the Mississippian and elevated extinction rates in the Cisuralian leading to a peak diversity of ∼2800 species at the end of the Carboniferous, representing the heyday of the Psaroniaceae. This peak is followed by the rapid decline and ultimate extinction of the Psaroniaceae, with their descendants, the Marattiaceae, persisting at approximately stable levels of diversity until the present. This general diversification pattern appears to be insensitive to potential biases in the fossil record; despite the preponderance of available fossils being from Pennsylvanian coal balls, incorporating fossilization-rate variation does not improve model fit. In addition, by incorporating temporal data directly within the model and allowing for the inference of the phylogenetic position of the fossils, our study makes the surprising inference that the clade of extant Marattiales is relatively young, younger than any of the fossils historically thought to be congeneric with extant species. This result is a dramatic demonstration of the dangers of node-based approaches to divergence-time estimation, where the assignment of fossils to particular clades is made a priori (earlier node-based studies that constrained the minimum ages of extant genera based on these fossils resulted in much older age estimates than in our study) and of the utility of explicit models of morphological evolution and lineage diversification. [Bayesian model comparison; Carboniferous; divergence-time estimation; fossil record; fossilized birth–death; lineage diversification; Marattiales; models of morphological evolution; Psaronius; RevBayes.] 
    more » « less
  3. Resolving the phylogenetic relationships among Paleocene mammals has been a longstanding goal in paleontology. Constructing an accurate and comprehensive phylogeny for Paleocene mammals is a worthwhile objective in itself, but it also provides a framework on which we can better understand the origin of placental mammals and the evolutionary processes underlying the diversification of mammals before, during, and after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. More recently, a robust Palaeocene mammal phylogeny has become a much-coveted tool for reconciling discrepancies between morphological and molecular evidence for the phylogeny and diversification of Placentalia. Here, we present a novel phylogenetic dataset to test hypotheses regarding Paleocene mammal phylogeny and the origin and diversification of Placentalia. To date, our matrix combines phenomic data for 36 extant mammal species and 107 fossil species scored for 2540 morphological characters alongside 26 genes sequenced for 47 species. We utilized a reductive morphological scoring strategy in order to minimize assumptions and test hypotheses on homology. Multiple sequence alignments were performed in MEGA-X for each gene. We then analysed the data using Bayesian methods and explored the effects of different approaches. Relaxed clock analyses using a molecular constraint and an FBD prior are congruent with the diversification of many extant orders prior to the K-Pg boundary. Relaxed clocked total-evidence analyses (morphology and molecules) using an FBD prior resulted in older ages of diversification than those estimated by our relaxed clock molecular constraint model and previous molecular studies. Within Placentalia, our phylogenies provide support for the divergence of Atlantogenata (Afrotheria and Xenarthra) from Boreoeutheria (Euarchontoglires and Laurasiatheria). Among the Paleocene taxa, ‘condylarths’ are distributed along the base of Laurasiatheria with members of ‘Arctocyonidae’ recovered as sister taxa to Artiodactyla; enigmatic groups such as Pantodonta and Taeniodonta are recovered as crown placentals whereas Leptictida is not. Our Paleocene mammal phylogeny is a critical step toward better understanding placental mammal evolution. Ultimately, this work will facilitate the investigation of fundamental questions previously encumbered by the lack of a well-resolved phylogeny. 
    more » « less
  4. Teeling, Emma (Ed.)
    Deciphering the evolutionary relationships of Chelicerata (arachnids, horseshoe crabs, and allied taxa) has proven notoriously difficult, due to their ancient rapid radiation and the incidence of elevated evolutionary rates in several lineages. Although conflicting hypotheses prevail in morphological and molecular data sets alike, the monophyly of Arachnida is nearly universally accepted, despite historical lack of support in molecular data sets. Some phylotranscriptomic analyses have recovered arachnid monophyly, but these did not sample all living orders, whereas analyses including all orders have failed to recover Arachnida. To understand this conflict, we assembled a data set of 506 high-quality genomes and transcriptomes, sampling all living orders of Chelicerata with high occupancy and rigorous approaches to orthology inference. Our analyses consistently recovered the nested placement of horseshoe crabs within a paraphyletic Arachnida. This result was insensitive to variation in evolutionary rates of genes, complexity of the substitution models, and alternative algorithmic approaches to species tree inference. Investigation of sources of systematic bias showed that genes and sites that recover arachnid monophyly are enriched in noise and exhibit low information content. To test the impact of morphological data, we generated a 514-taxon morphological data matrix of extant and fossil Chelicerata, analyzed in tandem with the molecular matrix. Combined analyses recovered the clade Merostomata (the marine orders Xiphosura, Eurypterida, and Chasmataspidida), but merostomates appeared nested within Arachnida. Our results suggest that morphological convergence resulting from adaptations to life in terrestrial habitats has driven the historical perception of arachnid monophyly, paralleling the history of numerous other invertebrate terrestrial groups. 
    more » « less
  5. Paleontological and neontological systematics seek to answer evolutionary questions with different datasets. Phylogenies inferred for combined extant and extinct taxa provide novel insights into the evolutionary history of life. Primates have an extensive, diverse fossil record and molecular data for living and extinct taxa are rapidly becoming available. We used two models to infer the phylogeny and divergence times for living and fossil primates, the tip-dating (TD) and fossilized birth-death process (FBD). We collected new morphological data, especially on the living and extinct endemic lemurs of Madagascar. We combined the morphological data with published DNA sequences to infer near-complete (88% of lemurs) time-calibrated phylogenies. The results suggest that primates originated around the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, slightly earlier than indicated by the fossil record and later than previously inferred from molecular data alone. We infer novel relationships among extinct lemurs, and strong support for relationships that were previously unresolved. Dates inferred with TD were significantly older than those inferred with FBD, most likely related to an assumption of a uniform branching process in the TD compared to a birth-death process assumed in the FBD. This is the first study to combine morphological and DNA sequence data from extinct and extant primates to infer evolutionary relationships and divergence times, and our results shed new light on the tempo of lemur evolution and the efficacy of combined phylogenetic analyses. 
    more » « less