Dataset Open Access

Amber fossils demonstrate deep-time stability of Caribbean lizard communities

Sherratt, Emma; Castañeda, María del Rosario; Garwood, Russell; Mahler, D. Luke; Sanger, Thomas J.; Herrel, Anthony; de Queiroz, Kevin; Losos, Jonathan B.

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<oai_dc:dc xmlns:dc="" xmlns:oai_dc="" xmlns:xsi="" xsi:schemaLocation="">
  <dc:creator>Sherratt, Emma</dc:creator>
  <dc:creator>Castañeda, María del Rosario</dc:creator>
  <dc:creator>Garwood, Russell</dc:creator>
  <dc:creator>Mahler, D. Luke</dc:creator>
  <dc:creator>Sanger, Thomas J.</dc:creator>
  <dc:creator>Herrel, Anthony</dc:creator>
  <dc:creator>de Queiroz, Kevin</dc:creator>
  <dc:creator>Losos, Jonathan B.</dc:creator>
  <dc:description>This is the dataset for the paper Sherratt et al. 2015 (PNAS, doi: ). Included are the X-ray microtomography (micro-CT) TIFF stacks for the amber encased anole lizard fossils studied. Also included are the morphometric data for the fossil and 100 modern specimens, and the phylogenetic character matrix for the fossils and 181 species (91 morphological characters, 4873 DNA bases).


Whether the structure of ecological communities can exhibit stability over macroevolutionary timescales has long been debated. The similarity of independently evolved Anolis lizard communities on environmentally similar Greater Antillean islands supports the notion that community evolution is deterministic. However, a dearth of Caribbean Anolis fossils—only three have been described to date—has precluded direct investigation of the stability of anole communities through time. Here we report on an additional 17 fossil anoles in Dominican amber dating to 15–20 My before the present. Using data collected primarily by X-ray micro computed tomography (X-ray micro-CT), we demonstrate that the main elements of Hispaniolan anole ecomorphological diversity were in place in the Miocene. Phylogenetic analysis yields results consistent with the hypothesis that the ecomorphs that evolved in the Miocene are members of the same ecomorph clades extant today. The primary axes of ecomorphological diversity in the Hispaniolan anole fauna appear to have changed little between the Miocene and the present, providing evidence for the stability of ecological communities over macroevolutionary timescales.</dc:description>
  <dc:source>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2015)</dc:source>
  <dc:subject>micro-Computed Tomography</dc:subject>
  <dc:subject>Adaptive radiation</dc:subject>
  <dc:title>Amber fossils demonstrate deep-time stability of Caribbean lizard communities</dc:title>
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