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Ecomorphological diversification in squamates from conserved pattern of cranial integration

Watanabe, A; Fabre, A-C; Felice, R; Maisano, JA; Müller, J; Herrel, A; Goswami, A; (2019) Ecomorphological diversification in squamates from conserved pattern of cranial integration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , 116 (29) pp. 14688-14697. 10.1073/pnas.1820967116. Green open access

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Abstract

Factors intrinsic and extrinsic to organisms dictate the course of morphological evolution but are seldom considered together in comparative analyses. Among vertebrates, squamates (lizards and snakes) exhibit remarkable morphological and developmental variations that parallel their incredible ecological spectrum. However, this exceptional diversity also makes systematic quantification and analysis of their morphological evolution challenging. We present a squamate-wide, high-density morphometric analysis of the skull across 181 modern and extinct species to identify the primary drivers of their cranial evolution within a unified, quantitative framework. Diet and habitat preferences, but not reproductive mode, are major influences on skull-shape evolution across squamates, with fossorial and aquatic taxa exhibiting convergent and rapid changes in skull shape. In lizards, diet is associated with the shape of the rostrum, reflecting its use in grasping prey, whereas snakes show a correlation between diet and the shape of posterior skull bones important for gape widening. Similarly, we observe the highest rates of evolution and greatest disparity in regions associated with jaw musculature in lizards, whereas those forming the jaw articulation evolve faster in snakes. In addition, high-resolution ancestral cranial reconstructions from these data support a terrestrial, nonfossorial origin for snakes. Despite their disparate evolutionary trends, lizards and snakes unexpectedly share a common pattern of trait integration, with the highest correlations in the occiput, jaw articulation, and palate. We thus demonstrate that highly diverse phenotypes, exemplified by lizards and snakes, can and do arise from differential selection acting on conserved patterns of phenotypic integration.

Type: Article
Title: Ecomorphological diversification in squamates from conserved pattern of cranial integration
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1820967116
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1820967116
Language: English
Additional information: © 2019 the Author(s). Published by PNAS. This open access article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND).
UCL classification: UCL
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/10075501
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