Centers of Origin Revisited

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1983

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



Historical biogeographers are divided over the major process whereby extant species, or their ancestors, arrived in their present geographical locations. One faction promotes the idea of discrete “centers” of evolutionary radiation, from which species have been supplied to other areas by long-distance dispersal. A second faction advances the notion of widespread ancestral biotas, which have been fractionated into descendant biotas over time (vicariance). A seemingly endless polemic has elevated these rather simple alternatives to causes célèbres, and many workers have responded by dismissing virtually the entire vicariance literature (see Pielou 1981). We believe that the important distinction between vicariance and center-of-origin/long-distance-dispersal can be made clear to those interested in questions of paleobiogeography. In our opinion, the recent contribution by Briggs (1981) in this journal did not do so, and we now take the opportunity to try.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Paleobiology, v. 9, issue 1, p. 17-19