The role of behavioural flexibility in primate diversification.

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From: Animal Behaviour(Vol. 180)
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 352 words

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Keywords behavioural drive; behavioural flexibility; evolutionary diversification; extinction; primate; speciation Highlights * We test to see if behavioural flexibility drives diversification of primates. * Behavioural flexibility was not a strong predictor of shallow divergences. * Some measures of flexibility did predict divergences among older lineages. * Behavioural flexibility may buffer against extinction of young lineages. Identifying the factors that influence species diversification is fundamental to our understanding of the evolutionary processes underlying extant biodiversity. Behavioural innovation, coupled with the social transmission of new behaviours, has been proposed to increase rates of evolutionary diversification, as novel behaviours expose populations to new selective regimes. Thus, it is believed that behavioural flexibility may be important in driving evolutionary diversification across animals. We test this hypothesis within the primates, a taxonomic group with considerable among-lineage variation in both species diversity and behavioural flexibility. We employ a time cutoff in our phylogeny to help account for biases associated with recent taxonomic reclassifications and compare three alternative measures of diversification rate that consider different phylogenetic depths. We find that the presence of behavioural innovation and social learning are positively correlated with diversification rates among primate genera, but not at shallower phylogenetic depths. Given that we find stronger associations when examining older rather than more recent diversification events, we suggest that extinction resistance, as opposed to speciation, may be an important mechanism linking behavioural flexibility and primate diversification. Our results contrast with work linking behavioural flexibility with diversification of birds at various phylogenetic depths. We offer a possible dispersal-mediated explanation for these conflicting patterns, such that the influence behavioural flexibility plays in dictating evolutionary trajectories differs across clades. Our results suggest that behavioural flexibility may act through several different pathways to shape the evolutionary trajectories of lineages. Author Affiliation: (a) Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (b) Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada * Corresponding author. Article History: Received 4 November 2020; Revised 1 December 2020; Accepted 17 May 2021 (miscellaneous) MS. number: A20-00813R Byline: Maria J.A. Creighton [maria.creighton@mail.mcgill.ca] (a,*), Dan A. Greenberg (b), Simon M. Reader (a), Arne Ø. Mooers (b)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A676844879