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The old wasp and the tree: fossils, phylogeny and biogeography in the Orussidae (Insecta, Hymenoptera)

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The phylogenetic relationships of the fossil orussid taxa Mesorussus taimyrensis and Minyorussus luzzi are examined by analysing them together with a large data set compiled previously for the extant Orussidae. The fossils are placed in an unresolved trichotomy with the extant Orussidae. The phylogeny is used for evaluating the hypothesis that the ancestors of the family had reduced body size; the results of this analysis are inconclusive. The biogeographical history of the Orussidae is explored. The common ancestor of the family was probably widespread, the initial splitting events taking place prior to or coinciding with the separation of Laurasia from Gondwana. Later putative vicariance events can be correlated with the gradual breakup of Gondwana. However, the biogeographical history of the Orussidae is dominated by speciation within regions and dispersal. The minimum age of the common ancestor of the Orussidae is >180 Myr when estimated from the biogeographical pattern, >95 Myr when estimated from the phylogenetic position of the fossils; the earlier date is considered to be the most likely. © 2004 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2004, 82, 139–160.

Keywords: age estimates; body size evolution; cladistic biogeography

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-06-01

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