The Cerrado once connected the Andes with the Atlantic Rainforest

phys.org | 9/13/2018 | Staff
rach-rach (Posted by) Level 3
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The tropical forests of the Andes and Brazil's Atlantic Rainforest biome are separated by almost 1,000 km of drier areas with open vegetation in the Chaco, Cerrado (Brazilian savanna), and Caatinga (Brazilian semiarid) biomes. Today, these tropical forests are not connected, but the fact that they share closely related species and lineages suggests that these biomes were connected in the past. For example, 23 rainforest bird species have been found in both the Andean and Atlantic tropical forests.

Several published studies reinforce such hypothesis. What scientists do not know for sure is whether this connection consisted of past gallery forests along rivers in what is now the Chaco (which spans across southern Bolivia, northern Argentina and Paraguay) or the Cerrado (in part of Bolivia, central-west Brazil and northern Paraguay).

Study - Data - Bird - Species - Syndactyla

According to a new study based on genomic and biogeographical data for two bird species (Syndactyla rufosupercilita and S. dimidiata), the past connection between Andean and Atlantic tropical forests ran through the Cerrado. Such connection may have emerged several times during the Pleistocene, the geological epoch that lasted from approximately 2.5 million years ago to 11,700 years ago.

The study was part of a research project conducted by Gustavo Cabanne, an ornithologist at Argentina's Museum of Natural Sciences (MACN), in collaboration with Cristina Yumi Miyaki, a professor at the University of São Paulo's Bioscience Institute (IB-USP) in Brazil. Results of the study were published in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

Biogeography - Study - Relationships - Beings - Latitude

Biogeography is the study of the relationships among living beings, latitude, elevation and climate over time. Paleobiogeography focuses on species distribution and relationships in remote epochs. An understanding of the paleobiogeography of the species that inhabit certain biomes in the present can help scientists infer the distribution of these same biomes in the past.

"The main challenge in biogeographical research is integrating and interpreting the...
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