Molecular Phylogenetics of New World Emballonurid Bats
South America was an insular continent for most of§the Tertiary, but it has the highest species§diversity for many organismal groups. Since early§explorations, biologists have been asking why South§America has high biodiversity and how organisms got§there during long periods of isolation. I address§these questions of evolution using sheath-tailed bats§(family Emballonuridae) as a study group. A molecular§phylogeny was produced based on a phylogenetic§analysis of DNA sequences from unlinked loci from the§4 components of genetic transmission found in§mammals. Optimization of areas suggests that the§ancestor of New World emballonurids had its origin in§Africa. Divergence times were estimated with a§relaxed clock approach and primary diversification in§South America occurred during the Miocene. A study of§historical biogeography indicated that the ancestral§area was the Northern Amazon. Character mapping§indicated a correlation of ear morphology with§echolocation call design and foraging behaviour,§which suggests a phylogenetic basis to the evolution§of these character systems. These results will be of§interest to biologists researching systematic§biology, evolution, and biogeography.