Monday, April 5, 2010
Continental Biogeography: Before and After
Coyne tells the story of the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen who froze to death with his party in 1919 after “their unsuccessful attempt to be the first at the South Pole” (99). He continues to compliment their recognition of the Glossopteris fossils they found. In addition, Coyne provides a map of the supercontinent that shaped the world during the Permian period (98). First, describe how the theory of biogeography applies to evolution in the context of continents. Then, explain how the example of the Glossopteris fossils supports this theory. Predict why evolutionary pressures affected the Glossopteris fossils more than they did to other animals that currently live in Antarctica. Finally, consider the modern African continent, which is slowly being pulled away from Europe and Asia due to plate tectonics; predict the region of Africa this will most strongly affect evolution in and how?