The evolutionary success of flowering plants has been attributed to key innovations that originated at the base of that clade. Maximum likelihood methods were used to assess whether branching rate increases were correlated with the origin of these traits. Four hypotheses for the basal relationships of angiosperms were examined by methods that are robust to uncertainty about the timing of internal branch points. Recent hypotheses based on molecular evidence, or on a combination of molecular and morphological characters, imply that large increases in branching rate did not occur until after the putative key innovations of angiosperms had evolved.
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