The age of biota in old islands: updating the dating for New Caledonia biodiversity?

Philippe Grandcolas *1

1 Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, 75005 Paris, France

New Caledonia is an island biologically very rich and diverse. It was long considered as a “Gondwanan refuge” harboring many old species and diversifications the origin of which can be traced back to vicariance with Australia 80 My ago. Both the rise of molecular and geological studies independently suggested a history of long Eocene submersion in discordance with this previous "Gondwanan refuge" paradigm. The time is ripe now for a meta-analysis of molecular datings which accumulated in the last decade. We thus conducted such an analysis which brought interesting and clear results concerning the origin of New Caledonian biota. In a general perspective, these results question both the traditional views about the origin of biota in old islands and the datings based on poorly informed molecular inferences.

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