A Critique of Thompson and Ramírez-Barahona (2023) or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Fossil Record

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Authors

Eric Robert Hagen

Abstract

Last year, a study published in Biology Letters by Thompson and Ramírez-Barahona (2023) argued that, according to analyses of diversification on two massive molecular phylogenies comprising thousands of species, there is no evidence that angiosperms (i.e., flowering plants) were affected by the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction. Here I show that these conclusions are flawed from both methodological and philosophical perspectives. I demonstrate that the methods used in their study possess statistical limitations that strongly reduce the power to detect a true mass extinction event using data similar to those analyzed by Thompson and Ramírez-Barahona (2023). Additionally, I use their study as a springboard to examine the relationship between phylogenetic and fossil evidence in diversification studies.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.32942/X2631W

Subjects

Life Sciences

Keywords

Mass extinction, angiosperms, K-Pg, Diversification, Macroevolution

Dates

Published: 2024-01-25 20:49

License

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Language:
English

Conflict of interest statement:
None

Data and Code Availability Statement:
https://github.com/EricHagen/plant-kpg-examination