Phylogeny, Diet, and Cranial Integration in Australodelphian Marsupials

Goswami, A. (2007) Phylogeny, Diet, and Cranial Integration in Australodelphian Marsupials. PLoS ONE, 2 (10). e995. DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0000995

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Abstract

Studies of morphological integration provide valuable information on the correlated evolution of traits and its relationship to long-term patterns of morphological evolution. Thus far, studies of morphological integration in mammals have focused on placentals and have demonstrated that similarity in integration is broadly correlated with phylogenetic distance and dietary similarity. Detailed studies have also demonstrated a significant correlation between developmental relationships among structures and adult morphological integration. However, these studies have not yet been applied to marsupial taxa, which differ greatly from placentals in reproductive strategy and cranial development and could provide the diversity necessary to assess the relationships among phylogeny, ecology, development, and cranial integration. This study presents analyses of morphological integration in 20 species of australodelphian marsupials, and shows that phylogeny is significantly correlated with similarity of morphological integration in most clades. Size-related correlations have a significant affect on results, particularly in Peramelia, which shows a striking decrease in similarity of integration among species when size is removed. Diet is not significantly correlated with similarity of integration in any marsupial clade. These results show that marsupials differ markedly from placental mammals in the relationships of cranial integration, phylogeny, and diet, which may be related to the accelerated development of the masticatory apparatus in marsupials.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2007 AREP IA55 2007 P
Subjects: 04 - Palaeobiology
Divisions: 04 - Palaeobiology
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS ONE
Volume: 2
Page Range: e995
Identification Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000995
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2009 13:02
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 10:07
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/335

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