By Claudio Rendina
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Extra resources for Le Chiese di Roma
Recent events may have influenced distribution patterns, but this is not justification for ignoring the impacts of earlier events. The main patterns of organic distribution, even in regions directly influenced by glaciation, correspond to early to mid-Tertiary or Mesozoic events (Tangelder 1988, Amorin 1991). 2 Fossil Evidence Distribution records, whether living or fossil, provide the database of panbiogeography, but some critics have asserted that fossils are over- FIG U R E 2 -1. A correlation between current distribution and hypothesized Mesozoic continental alignments as illustrated by pselaphid beetle tracks (tribe Amauropsini).
Pleistocene climatic changes do not appear to have completely reshuffled the distribution of Pinus, and Tertiary distribution patterns and the traces of evolutionary events dating from the Eocene period may have been maintained into the present (Millar 1993). Molecular phylogenies and geographical distributions of western North American aridland rodent faunas indicate that mid- to late Pleistocene events had little influence on lineage divergence. Divergence and current distributions appeared instead to be effects of the late Tertiary development of the western North American cordillera (Riddle 1995).
This geological revolution appeared to solve the biogeographic problem of the ratites and southern beeches by providing a convincing geological mechanism for a credible land bridge. Their disjunct distributions could now be explained by postulating that their ancestors were once members of an ancestral biota confined to the former Gondwana supercontinent (fig. 18) because (1) they lacked the necessary means of dispersal to cross the ocean basins, (2) they were "old" or "primitive" taxa (although their fossil history did not necessarily confirm this), and (3) their living representatives are all present on at least some of the land areas that once were part of Gondwana.