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In biogeography, a taxon is said to have a cosmopolitan distribution if its range extends across all or most of the world in appropriate habitats. This can be observed both in extinct and extant species. For example, Lystrosaurus, a prehistoric creature had a cosmopolitan distribution in the Early Triassic after a mass extinction.
In the modern world, the killer whale has a cosmopolitan distribution, extending over most of the world's oceans. Copidosoma floridanum serves as another example of a cosmopolitan wasp species, also distributed around the world. The term can also apply to some diseases. Other examples include humans, cats, the lichen species Parmelia sulcata, and the mollusc genus Mytilus. It may result from a broad range of environmental tolerances or from rapid dispersal compared to the time needed for evolution.
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