Evolutionary Model of Species Body Mass Diversification

A. Clauset and S. Redner
Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 038103 – Published 22 January 2009


We present a quantitative model for the biological evolution of species body masses within large groups of related species, e.g., terrestrial mammals, in which body mass M evolves according to branching (speciation), multiplicative diffusion, and an extinction probability that increases logarithmically with mass. We describe this evolution in terms of a convection-diffusion-reaction equation for lnM. The steady-state behavior is in good agreement with empirical data on recent terrestrial mammals, and the time-dependent behavior also agrees with data on extinct mammal species between 95–50 Myr ago.

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  • Received 2 September 2008


Authors & Affiliations

A. Clauset1,* and S. Redner1,2,†

  • 1Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501, USA
  • 2Center for Polymer Studies and Department of Physics, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA

  • *aaronc@santafe.edu
  • redner@bu.edu

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Vol. 102, Iss. 3 — 23 January 2009

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