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Title   Into Africa via docked India: a fossil climbing perch from the Oligocene of Tibet helps solve the anabantid biogeographical puzzle
Authors   FeixiangWu
Corresponding Author   FeixiangWu
Year   2019
Title of Journal   Science Bulletin
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Abstract   The northward drift of the Indian Plate and its collision with Eurasia have profoundly impacted the evolutionary history of the terrestrial organisms, especially the ones along the Indian Ocean rim. Climbing perches (Anabantidae) are primary freshwater fishes showing a disjunct south Asian-African distribution, but with an elusive paleobiogeographic history due to the lack of fossil evidence. Here, based on an updated time-calibrated anabantiform phylogeny integrating a number of relevant fossils, the divergence between Asian and African climbing perches is estimated to have occurred in the middle Eocene (ca. 40?Ma, Ma: million years ago), a time when India had already joined with Eurasia. The key fossil lineage is ?Eoanabas, the oldest anabantid known so far, from the upper Oligocene of the Tibetan Plateau. Ancestral range reconstructions suggest a Southeast Asian origin in the early Eocene (ca. 48?Ma) and subsequent dispersals to Tibet and then India for this group. Thereby we propose their westbound dispersal to Africa via the biotic bridge between India and Africa. If so, climbing perch precursors had probably followed the paleobiogeographical route of snakehead fishes, which have a slightly older divergence between African and Asian taxa. As such, our study echoes some recent molecular analyses in rejecting the previously held “Gondwana continental drift vicariance” or late Mesozoic dispersal scenarios for the climbing perches, but provides a unique biogeographical model to highlight the role of the pre-uplift Tibet and the docked India in shaping the disjunct distribution of some air-breathing freshwater fishes around the Indian Ocean.
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Full Text Link   https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095927319301811?via%3Dihubhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095927319301811?via%3Dihub
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