27.3. Talk by Marcelo Sánchez-Villagra

Hi All!

Next week prof. Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra (Palaeontological Institute and Museum, University of Zurich) will give a presentation titled: “Evolution in the Neotropics as North and South America connected: new discoveries of terrestrial and marine fossils and their ecological and biogeographic significance”. Here is an abstract:

“New palaeontological discoveries in northern South America characterize faunas of terrestrial mammals just before and during the closure of the Central American Seaway (CAS). The first records of migrants from North American mammals in this region (carnivorans and camelids) are associated with recent landscape changes in younger deposits that document major landscape changes. But fossils of two marine groups do speak for an earlier closure of the Central American Seaway than classically assumed. Data derived from a long term field efforts (Miocene to the Pleistocene) resulted in fossil sharks and rays from 67 geological units in 17 countries, from both shallow and deep-water habitats. The highest faunal similarity between the assemblages from the Eastern pacific and the Western Atlantic regions is at the early Miocene, with subsequent faunal differentiation within each of those regions, probably related with the increasing closure of the CAS and thus the formation of a barrier. Studying sea catfishes with novel calibration on genome-wide data, we identify a series of divergences between groups of Caribbean and Pacific fishes around 10 Ma, indicating vicariant speciation millions of years before the final isthmus closure. Terrestrial and marine fossils, integrated in ecological and biogeographic contexts, provide an understanding of major events of evolution in the tropics impossible to obtain based on molecular data alone.”

We were also thinking to go for drinks or dinner afterwards.

See you all on Tue 23rd March at 16:00 in C108, Physicum”!

Best, Janina