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Frogs evolution tracks rise of Himalayas and rearrangement of Southeast Asia
Date:8/5/2010

e on the Laos-Vietnam border, along what is called the Ailao Shan-Red River shear zone. This uplift and the opening of the South China Sea probably occurred as the Indian landmass pushed Indochina southeastward, isolating the frogs of Indochina (now subgenus Eripaa) from those of South China (Quasipaa).

"Our study suggests that the geologically hypothesized uplift (thickening) and strike-slip extrusion must have occurred simultaneously to generate the observed biotic distribution pattern" some 23-24 million years ago, the authors wrote in their paper.

The movement of large land masses must also have been accompanied by climate change, the authors noted, which suggests that the forests of Central Vietnam may have served as a refuge for Paini frogs during climate oscillations. Today, Vietnam is a conservation hotspot.

"Basically, the frogs were rafting on top of the continents," Yin said "The tectonics control morphological evolution by transporting originally very closely related frogs so far apart they all diverge and develop very differently."

Wake, whose interest is homoplasy the independent origin of similar shapes and structures noted that the study shows "that spines and hypertrophied forelimbs have evolved independently four different times as they coped with the ever steeper rising mountains and adapted to these increasingly rapidly flowing streams."


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Contact: Robert Sanders
rsanders@berkeley.edu
510-643-6998
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert  

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