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What Is the Meaning of Extreme Phylogenetic Diversity? The Case of Phylogenetic Relict Species

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Abstract

A relict is a species that remains from a group largely extinct. It can be identifi ed according both to a phylogenetic analysis and to a fossil record of extinction. Conserving a relict species will amount to conserve the unique representative of a particular phylogenetic group and its combination of potentially original characters , thus lots of phylogenetic diversity. However, the focus on these original characters , often seen as archaic or primitive, commonly brought erroneous ideas. Actually, relict species are not necessarily old within their group and they can show as much genetic diversity as any species. A phylogenetic relict species can be geographically or climatically restricted or not. Empirical studies have often shown that relicts are at particular risks of extinction. The term relict should not be used for putting a misleading emphasis on remnant or isolated populations. In conclusion, relict species are extreme cases of phylogenetic diversity, often endangered and with high symbolic value, of important value for conservation.
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hal-02565173 , version 1 (06-05-2020)

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Philippe Grandcolas, Steven A Trewick. What Is the Meaning of Extreme Phylogenetic Diversity? The Case of Phylogenetic Relict Species. Biodiversity Conservation and Phylogenetic Systematics - Preserving our evolutionary heritage in an extinction crisis, pp.99-115, 2016, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-22461-9_6⟩. ⟨hal-02565173⟩
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