Evolutionary History of a Tiger

2249 WordsFeb 22, 20189 Pages
I. Introduction Phylogeography is a field of study that implements biogeography and genetics to understand the geographic distribution of a species. It is concerned with historical principles and processes that influence evolution and speciation. The tiger is an evolutionary wonder; it is a prime example of the responsiveness that some species have to changing climatic conditions. The tiger once had the largest geographic distribution of all cat species; subspecies adaptations allowed them to live in a large range of habitats throughout the Asian continent making it a perfect candidate for the study of phylogeography. This review will examine the evolutionary history of the tiger and will explain how the species was affected by climatic fluctuations and biogeographic processes during the Plestocene epoch. II. Distribution a. Current Distribution Today, contiguous distributions can be found throughout southern Asia, far east Russia, and the Sunda islands of Sumatra, and Java (figure 1). It is widely agreed that the evolutionary history and distribution of tigers and other fauna endemic to Asia is largely dominated by glacial cycles during the late Pleistocene epoch. An examination of environmental conditions during the late Pleistocene would assist in explaining the current distribution and the central point of origin of the species Figure 1: Historic and current geographic distributions of the eight subspecies of tiger. The Isthamus of Kra is the boundary that separates

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