New Research Redefines Mammalian Tree of Life
Published:17 May2023    Source:Texas A&M University
This study is part of a series of articles released by theZoonomia Project, a consortium of scientists from around the globe that is using the largest mammalian genomic dataset in history to determine the evolutionary history of the human genome in the context of mammalian evolutionary history. Their ultimate goal is to better identify the genetic basis for traits and diseases in people and other species.
The research -- which was conducted with collaborators at the University of California, Davis; University of California, Riverside; and the American Museum of Natural History -- concludes that mammals began diversifying before the K-Pg extinction as the result of continental drifting, which caused the Earth's land masses to drift apart and come back together over millions of years. Another pulse of diversification occurred immediately following the K-Pg extinction of the dinosaurs, when mammals had more room, resources and stability.

This accelerated rate of diversification led to the rich diversity of mammal lineages -- such as carnivores, primates and hoofed animals -- that share the Earth today.