Barido-Sottani J, Van Tiel NMA, Hopkins MJ, Wright DF, Stadler T, Warnock R (2020)
Publication Type: Journal article
Publication year: 2020
Book Volume: 8
Time calibrated trees are challenging to estimate for many extinct groups of species due to the incompleteness of the rock and fossil records. Additionally, the precise age of a sample is typically not known as it may have occurred at any time during the time interval spanned by the rock layer. Bayesian phylogenetic approaches provide a coherent framework for incorporating multiple sources of evidence and uncertainty. In this study, we simulate datasets with characteristics typical of Palaeozoic marine invertebrates, in terms of character and taxon sampling. We use these datasets to examine the impact of different age handling methods on estimated topologies and divergence times obtained using the fossilized birth-death process. Our results reiterate the importance of modeling fossil age uncertainty, although we find that the relative impact of fossil age uncertainty depends on both fossil taxon sampling and character sampling. Sampling the fossil ages as part of the inference gives topology and divergence time estimates that are as good as those obtained by fixing ages to the truth, whereas fixing fossil ages to incorrect values results in higher error and lower coverage. The relative effect increases with increased fossil and character sampling. Modeling fossil age uncertainty is thus critical, as fixing incorrect fossil ages will negate the benefits of improved fossil and character sampling.
Barido-Sottani, J., Van Tiel, N.M.A., Hopkins, M.J., Wright, D.F., Stadler, T., & Warnock, R. (2020). Ignoring Fossil Age Uncertainty Leads to Inaccurate Topology and Divergence Time Estimates in Time Calibrated Tree Inference. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 8. https://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2020.00183
Barido-Sottani, Joelle, et al. "Ignoring Fossil Age Uncertainty Leads to Inaccurate Topology and Divergence Time Estimates in Time Calibrated Tree Inference." Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 8 (2020).