Age Estimates for Some Subterranean Taxa and Lineages in the Dinaric Karst

Peter Trontelj, Špela Gorički, Slavko Polak, Rudi Verovnik, Valerija Zakšek, Boris Sket



Using a comparative phylogeographic approach and different independent molecular clocks we propose a timescale for the evolution of troglobionts in the Dinaric Karst that is relatively consistent over a wide taxonomic range. Keystone events seem to belong to two age classes. (1) Major splits within holodinaric taxa are from the mid-Miocene. They present the potential upper limit for the age of cave invasions. (2) Regional differentiation, including speciation, which can at least in part be associated with a subterranean phase, took place from early Pliocene to mid-Pleistocene. We suggest two to five million years as the time when most of the analyzed lineages started invading the Dinaric Karst underground.

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