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On another note, I was wondering what evolutionary evidence supports biodiversity? For instance, polar bears can be found in the arctic, but not the antarctic. For penguins, it's the opposite. Does evolution explain the diversity or does it simply point to a common ancestor that was once separated in that geographical region and then evolved?
Because species divergence happens not only in the time dimension, but also in spatial dimensions, common ancestors originate in a particular geographical location. Thus, the spatial and geographical distribution of species should be consistent with their predicted genealogical relationships. The standard phylogenetic tree predicts that new species must originate close to the older species from which they are derived. Closely related contemporary species should be close geographically, regardless of their habitat or specific adaptations. If they are not, there had better be a good explanation, such as extreme mobility (cases like sea animals, birds, human mediated distribution, etc.), continental drift, or extensive time since their divergence. In this sense, the present biogeographical distribution of species should reflect the history of their origination.
The origins of Family Ursidae can be traced back to Cephalogale, a small, dog-like animal which lived in Europe during the early to mid-Tertiary. Cephalogale was the ancestor to Ursavus elmensis, the first bear-like carnivore. From this origin came the Ursidae family (Sacco 1997).
The oldest known fossil penguin species is Waimanu manneringi, which lived in the early Paleocene epoch of New Zealand, or about 62 mya. While they were not as well-adapted to aquatic life as modern penguins, Waimanu were generally loon-like birds but already flightless, with short wings adapted for deep diving. They swam on the surface using mainly their feet, but the wings were – as opposed to most other diving birds, living and extinct – already adapting to underwater locomotion.