As it is known, the Canary pine, Pinus canariensis, is an endemic tree growing mainly on the Canary Islands. This pine is characterized by a rather large height and a large trunk: it is more powerful than the plant’s mainland species. Of all the islands of the archipelago, the greatest concentration of such pines is characteristic of Tenerife. In the context of biogeographical studies, the question of Canary pine distribution in the area of the west coast of Africa is determined by the depth of phylogenetic measurements carried out in conjunction with the analysis of ecological features of this species.
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Of primary importance is the recognition that Pinus canariensis was part of a single population about 200 million years ago, like all Pine family subspecies. At that time, Gondwana was already separated from Eurasia, and, in all likelihood, pine plants were more characteristic of the northern hemisphere. In the modern appearance of the planet, this is confirmed by Pine plants’ wide distribution predominantly in countries above the equatorial part of the planet. Nevertheless, some portion of the population may have remained in southern Gondwana, resulting in species separation.
Volcanic eruptions formed the Canary Islands, so local soils are rich in ash and nutrients for plants to thrive. For this reason, Pinus canariensis has been active in the archipelago, being geographically and reproductively isolated. Nevertheless, the fact that phylogenetic analysis revealed that the plant’s closest relatives were organisms inhabiting India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bhutan (united neighboring territories) may be confusing. The immediate answer is based on the knowledge of Pangea’s geographical division and later Gondwana into separate continents. It can be assumed that the pine populations had a not-so-distant common origin and were separated when the plates were deformed. This assumption can be tested by additional DNA analysis, which should statistically show how long ago the clades’ separation occurred.
However, being a part of Pangea, these territories were too distant from each other, so the probability of natural dispersion of trees seems impossible. In this sense, it is logical to assume that human activity related to the agricultural sector and trade may have caused endemic trees’ transport across the continent. Nevertheless, it should be accurately understood that such a speciation mechanism must have strong evidence. In particular, detecting a small age divergence of taxa may be indirect evidence of artificial migration. In addition, a study of historical records and archives may also shed light on the possible trade of Pinus canariensis in ancient times.
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