The meaning of birth and death (in macroevolutionary birth–death models)
Thomas H. G. Ezard1,2,*, Paul N. Pearson3, Tracy Aze3 and Andy Purvis1
1Division of Biology, Silwood Park Campus, Imperial College London, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY, UK
2Department of Mathematics, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK
3School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3YE, UK
*Author for correspondence (email@example.com).
Birth–death models are central to much macroevolutionary theory. The fundamental parameters of these models concern durations. Different species concepts realize different species durations because they represent different ideas of what birth (speciation) and death (extinction) mean. Here, we use Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera as a case study to ask: what are the dynamical consequences of changing the definition of birth and death? We show strong evidence for biotic constraints on diversification using evolutionary species, but less with morphospecies. Discussing reasons for this discrepancy, we emphasize that clarity of species concept leads to clarity of meaning when interpreting macroevolutionary birth–death models.
birth, death, extinction, speciation, species concept
One contribution of 12 to a Special Feature on ‘Models in palaeontology’.
Received July 8, 2011.
Accepted August 12, 2011.
This journal is © 2011 The Royal Society