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A Triassic beginning for angiosperms corresponds with the timing of the origin of some insect groups, including crickets and katydids, alderflies and the molecular dating angiosperms ancestor of caddisflies — moths and butterflies. However, the spectacular diversification of core angiosperms in the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous notably also coincides with the origin and evolution of Phytophaga, arguably the most diverse radiation of plant-feeding beetles.
Their association with angiosperms has long been proposed to account for the apparent evolutionary success of Phytophaga. This new study is not without limitations since molecular dating analyses tend to report older ages for groups than the earliest accepted fossils for them, leading some to suggest, and occasionally demonstrate that, molecular molecular dating angiosperms is biased toward older age estimates.
Still, the dates from this study fall within the range of most of the recent estimates for angiosperms despite different methods and sampling, which perhaps suggests a robustness to them.
Molecular dating analyses that consistently retrieve pre‐Cretaceous ages for crown‐group angiosperms have eroded confidence in the fossil record, which indicates a radiation and possibly also origin in the Early Cretaceous. Here we evaluate paleobotanical evidence on the age of the angiosperms, showing how fossils provide crucial data for clarifying the situation.