Integrative Phylogenetics: Tools for Palaeontologists to Explore the Tree of Life

Raquel López-Antoñanzas, Jonathan Mitchell, Tiago R. Simões, Fabien L. Condamine, Robin Aguilée, Pablo Peláez-Campomanes, Sabrina Renaud, Jonathan Rolland, Philip C.J. Donoghue

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The modern era of analytical and quantitative palaeobiology has only just begun, integrating methods such as morphological and molecular phylogenetics and divergence time estimation, as well as phenotypic and molecular rates of evolution. Calibrating the tree of life to geological time is at the nexus of many disparate disciplines, from palaeontology to molecular systematics and from geochronology to comparative genomics. Creating an evolutionary time scale of the major events that shaped biodiversity is key to all of these fields and draws from each of them. Different methodological approaches and data employed in various disciplines have traditionally made collaborative research efforts difficult among these disciplines. However, the development of new methods is bridging the historical gap between fields, providing a holistic perspective on organismal evolutionary history, integrating all of the available evidence from living and fossil species. Because phylogenies with only extant taxa do not contain enough information to either calibrate the tree of life or fully infer macroevolutionary dynamics, phylogenies should preferably include both extant and extinct taxa, which can only be achieved through the inclusion of phenotypic data. This integrative phylogenetic approach provides ample and novel opportunities for evolutionary biologists to benefit from palaeontological data to help establish an evolutionary time scale and to test core macroevolutionary hypotheses about the drivers of biological diversification across various dimensions of organisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1185
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


  • biodiversity
  • evolution
  • macroevolution
  • molecular clock
  • morphological clock
  • morphometrics
  • palaeobiogeography
  • phylogeny
  • taxonomy


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