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Conservatism of Ecological Niches in Evolutionary Time

A. T. Peterson, J. Soberón and V. Sánchez-Cordero
Science
New Series, Vol. 285, No. 5431 (Aug. 20, 1999), pp. 1265-1267
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2897890
Page Count: 3
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Conservatism of Ecological Niches in Evolutionary Time
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Abstract

Theory predicts low niche differentiation between species over evolutionary time scales, but little empirical evidence is available. Reciprocal geographic predictions based on ecological niche models of sister taxon pairs of birds, mammals, and butterflies in southern Mexico indicate niche conservatism over several million years of independent evolution (between putative sister taxon pairs) but little conservatism at the level of families. Niche conservatism over such time scales indicates that speciation takes place in geographic, not ecological, dimensions and that ecological differences evolve later.

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