The vast majority of animals that ever existed are now extinct, but Tereza Jezkova and John Wiens wondered which variables were most important in driving the diversification of species that exist today. Why are there so many species in some phyla, such as Cnidaria (see photo), but so few in others, such as Ctenophora?
The researchers know that correlation does not equal causation. However, can the absence of a correlation enable you to reject a hypothesis of causation? How would the R2 values be different in a scenario where a single trait was important to diversification in many phyla versus a scenario where different traits were important to diversification in different phyla?
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