[Taxacom] Tectonic uplift as a mjor evolutionary process

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Fri Mar 22 15:49:04 CDT 2019

For those interested in biogeographic processes beyond 'chance' I highly
recommend the following article which can be obtained from me or the
author. Passive uplift should, in my opinion, be listed as one of the most
significant evolutionary processes around (should be in all basic
evolutionary text books). It is going on all the time and affected
evolution from the beginning. The original establishment of terrestrial
life was not from some metaphysical selective advantage (any more than
lowland species are supposed to invade supposedly vacant alpine niches or
habitats), but the outcome of marine coastal life being constantly thrust
out of the water. Sooner or later some were going to survive and the rest
is history.

Heads, M. 2019. Passive uplift of plant and animal populations during
mountain building. Cladistics

If a community and its substrate are raised by tectonic uplift, the species
present can either die out in the area, survive in situ unchanged, or
survive in situ with adaptation and differentiation. The large-scale
passive uplift of plant and animal populations during mountain-building is
accepted in a growing number of studies, but the idea has seldom been
examined critically. If passive uplift does occur, it has implications for
interpreting community structure and speciation in some of the most
biodiverse places on Earth, tropical mountains. It would also provide a
simple explanation for many altitudinal anomalies, such as the occurrence
of typical coastal elements at unusually high altitudes in certain
localities. Examples include the coastal saltmarsh plant Salicornia at 4200
m altitude in the rapidly uplifted Andes, coastal frogs and ferns in
African mountains, and inland mangroves
in New Guinea. The first aim of this paper is to review previous work on
passive uplift worldwide and the main ideas that have been discussed. A
second goal is to discuss possible tests of passive uplift.

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