Late Cretaceous vicariance in Gondwanan amphibians

Ines Van Bocxlaer, Kim Roelants, S.d. Biju, J. Nagaraju, Franky Bossuyt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Citations (Scopus)


Overseas dispersals are often invoked when Southern Hemisphere terrestrial and freshwater organism phylogenies do not fit the sequence or timing of Gondwana fragmentation. We used dispersal-vicariance analyses and molecular timetrees to show that two species-rich frog groups, Microhylidae and Natatanura, display congruent patterns of spatial and temporal diversification among Gondwanan plates in the Late Cretaceous, long after the presumed major tectonic break-up events. Because amphibians are notoriously salt-intolerant, these analogies are best explained by simultaneous vicariance, rather than by oceanic dispersal. Hence our results imply Late Cretaceous connections between most adjacent Gondwanan landmasses, an essential concept for biogeographic and palaeomap reconstructions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere74
Number of pages6
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2006

Bibliographical note

Michael Hofreiter


  • amphibian evolution
  • vicariance
  • dispersal
  • Gondwana breakup
  • Molecular divergence time estimation


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