Phylogeny and biogeography of midwife toads (Alytes, Discoglossidae): a rebuttal

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Three competing phylogenetic hypotheses for the genus Alytes (midwife toads) are evaluated. Based on quantitative coding of protein characters the most parsimonious solution shows a sister taxon relationship for Alytes dickhilleni and A. muletensis. The alternatives in which A. obstetricans has its sister group in either A. dickhilleni or A. muletensis lack support. Using calibrations derived from protein evolutionary rates, the vicariant events giving rise to A. obstetricans and the lineage leading to the A. muletensis and A. dickhilleni clade and the subsequent splitting between A. muletensis and A. dickhilleni cannot be placed much earlier than the Miocene-Pliocene boundary. Biogeographical scenarios invoking an earlier time of divergence should be rejected.

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