Inferring ancestral range reconstruction based on trilobite records: a study-case on Metacryphaeus (Phacopida, Calmoniidae)
Metacryphaeus is a calmoniid trilobite genus from the Devonian Malvinokaffric Realm, exclusive to the Gondwanan regions. It includes eleven species, which are for the first time included here in a single phylogenetic analysis. The resulting hypotheses establish relations among the Metacryphaeus species with few ambiguities, also suggesting the inclusion of both Plesiomalvinella pujravii and P. boulei within the genus, as originally considered. The results of palaeobiogeographic analyses employing the Dispersal-Extinction-Cladogenesis (DEC) model reinforce the hypothesis that Bolivia and Peru form the ancestral home of Metacryphaeus. The radiation of the genus to other Gondwanan areas took place during transgressive eustatic episodes during the Lochkovian-Pragian. The Lochkovian dispersal occurred from Bolivia and Peru to Brazil (Paraná and Parnaíba basins) and the Falklands, and Pragian dispersal occurred towards South Africa. Dispersal events from Bolivia and Peru to the Parnaíba Basin (Brazil) were identified during the Lochkovian-Pragian, suggesting the presence of marine connections between those areas earlier than previously thought.