Molecular claims of Gondwanan age for Australian agamid lizards are untenable.
Andrew F Hugall, Michael SY Lee
Molecular Biology and Evolution | Published : 2004
A recent mtDNA study proposes a surprisingly deep (approximately 150 MYA) divergence between SE Asian and Australasian agamid lizards, consistent with ancient Gondwanan vicariance rather than dispersal across the Indonesian Archipelago. However, the analysis contains a fundamental error: use of rates of molecular evolution inferred from uncorrected sequence divergence to put a time frame on a tree with branch lengths greatly elongated by complex likelihood and rate-smoothing models. Furthermore, this date implies that basal splits within agamids occurred implausibly early, at least 300 MYA (100 Myr before the first fossil lizards and coincident with the earliest fossil reptiles). Analyses of..View full abstract