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Developmental origins of mosaic evolution in the avian cranium

Felice, RN; Goswami, A; (2018) Developmental origins of mosaic evolution in the avian cranium. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 115 (3) pp. 555-560. 10.1073/pnas.1716437115. Green open access

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Abstract

Mosaic evolution, which results from multiple influences shaping morphological traits and can lead to the presence of a mixture of ancestral and derived characteristics, has been frequently invoked in describing evolutionary patterns in birds. Mosaicism implies the hierarchical organization of organismal traits into semiautonomous subsets, or modules, which reflect differential genetic and developmental origins. Here, we analyze mosaic evolution in the avian skull using high-dimensional 3D surface morphometric data across a broad phylogenetic sample encompassing nearly all extant families. We find that the avian cranium is highly modular, consisting of seven independently evolving anatomical regions. The face and cranial vault evolve faster than other regions, showing several bursts of rapid evolution. Other modules evolve more slowly following an early burst. Both the evolutionary rate and disparity of skull modules are associated with their developmental origin, with regions derived from the anterior mandibular-stream cranial neural crest or from multiple embryonic cell populations evolving most quickly and into a greater variety of forms. Strong integration of traits is also associated with low evolutionary rate and low disparity. Individual clades are characterized by disparate evolutionary rates among cranial regions. For example, Psittaciformes (parrots) exhibit high evolutionary rates throughout the skull, but their close relatives, Falconiformes, exhibit rapid evolution in only the rostrum. Our dense sampling of cranial shape variation demonstrates that the bird skull has evolved in a mosaic fashion reflecting the developmental origins of cranial regions, with a semi-independent tempo and mode of evolution across phenotypic modules facilitating this hyperdiverse evolutionary radiation.

Type: Article
Title: Developmental origins of mosaic evolution in the avian cranium
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1716437115
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1716437115
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). This open access article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercialNoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND).
Keywords: evolutionary rates, evolutionary development, modularity, morphological diversity, morphometrics
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Cell and Developmental Biology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10061805
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