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Timings of Major Glaciations, Inherent Selection Schemes and the Origins of Cold Hardy Animal Phyla

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BACKGROUND: Knowing the origin dates of specific phyla may help in understanding the intricate relationships between environments and their biota. Past extreme environments would have challenged biota and led to the evolution of phyla that were and possibly still are able to withstand extreme conditions. OBJECTIVE: We test the hypothesis that major glaciation events imposed strong selection schemes, ultimately leading to the origins of cold hardy phyla. METHODS: We identified dates of past major glaciation events, cold hardy phyla and their origin dates and synthesized these data in a phylogenetic context. RESULTS: Origin dates of cold hardy phyla do not correspond with major glaciation events, falsifying the hypothesis. CONCLUSION: An alternative hypothesis is proposed in which varying degrees of cold hardiness evolved at other taxonomic levels within these phyla.
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Keywords: ADAPTATION; CLADOGRAM; HYPOTHESIS TESTING; SNOWBALL EARTH

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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  • CryoLetters is a bimonthly international journal for low temperature sciences, including cryobiology, cryopreservation or vitrification of cells and tissues, chemical and physical aspects of freezing and drying, and studies involving ecology of cold environments, and cold adaptation

    The journal publishes original research reports, authoritative reviews, technical developments and commissioned book reviews of studies of the effects produced by low temperatures on a wide variety of scientific and technical processes, or those involving low temperature techniques in the investigation of physical, chemical, biological and ecological problems.

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