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The Tempo and Mode of Evolution of Acoustic Communication Signals of Felids

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Based on the molecular clock model of evolution, molecular phylogenies represent reconstructions of the evolutionary process with a time scale. From these, inferences can be drawn about the evolution of other characters, including behaviour patterns. Mapping particular vocalization types in the Felidae (cats) on a published molecular phylogeny of this mammal family reveals that the distribution of these behavioural characters is fully congruent with it. Thence a time frame for the evolution of these vocalizations can be inferred, indicating large differences in their evolutionary age. Phylogenetic stasis for several million years in particular vocalization types refutes the hypothesis that behavioural characters are generally more susceptible to evolutionary change than morphological ones.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1998

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