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Panbiogeography from tracks to ocean basins: evolving perspectives

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Misconceptions arising from efforts to translate panbiogeography into terms used in other biogeographic and evolutionary theories are discussed with respect to Cox’s (1998, Journal of Biogeography, 25, 813–828) critique of panbiogeography. Croizat’s rejection of ‘Darwinian dispersal’ applies only to efforts to utilize this concept as a general explanation for biogeographic patterns. The conceptual difference between distribution and panbiogeographic dispersal maps is illustrated to show that Croizat did not synonymize distribution and dispersal. Croizat’s position on continental drift and plate tectonics does not support Cox’s (1998) claim that Croizat ‘for a long time’ refused to accept the theory of plate tectonics. The methodological relationship between panbiogeographic analysis and geology suggests an independence of methodology that prevents geological theory from falsifying panbiogeographic predictions. Panbiogeographic predictions for the eastern Pacific are shown to be in agreement with current historical geological models. Claims by Cox (1998) that the panbiogeographic method is variable and questionable are evaluated with respect to the biogeographic homology of primitive frogs, ratite birds, and southern beeches to demonstrate the consistent application of minimal distance, main massing, phylogenetic affinity and baseline criteria. Panbiogeographic classification concepts are contrasted with the Darwinian system (supported by Cox) utilizing a concept of unitary geographical area based on the language of Roman military rule. Inconsistent positions expressed in recent critiques of panbiogeography may indicate an underlying and implicit acceptance of the empirical and theoretical progress generated by panbiogeography within modern biogeography. ‘The formation of groups has an invigorating effect in all spheres of human striving, perhaps mostly due to the struggle between the convictions and aims represented by the different groups’ (Einstein, 1938. Collier’s, 26 November).

Keywords: Croizat; Panbiogeography; biogeography; dispersal; evolution; track analysis; vicariance

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: 2001-04-01

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