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Inferring the Timescale of Phylogenetic Trees from Fossil Data

Abstract : Time-stamped historical observations are required for scaling phylogenetic estimates to absolute time and, as a consequence, genomic data alone are not sufficient for dating the tree of life. The fossil record is the primary source of dated evidence of lineages over time and several statistical models for integrating paleontological and neontological data have been introduced. This chapter provides an overview of how fossil data are recovered from the rock record. We then describe two approaches to dating phylogenetic trees: (1) node dating where fossils are treated as calibrations for speciation times in an extant phylogeny and (2) the fossilized birth-death process as a mechanistic model that accounts for lineage diversification and fossil sampling. We conclude by discussing promising extensions of diversification models that can account for the structure of the fossil record and enable a more complete treatment of extinct and modern taxa in macroevolutionary analyses.
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Walker Pett, Tracy A. Heath. Inferring the Timescale of Phylogenetic Trees from Fossil Data. Scornavacca, Celine; Delsuc, Frédéric; Galtier, Nicolas. Phylogenetics in the Genomic Era, No commercial publisher | Authors open access book, pp.5.1:1--5.1:18, 2020. ⟨hal-02536361⟩

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