Serial disparity in the carnivoran backbone unveil a complex adaptive role in metameric evolution

Francisco Borja Figueirido Castillo, Alberto Martín-Serra, Alejandro Pérez-Ramos, David Velasco, Francisco Pastor & Roger Benson
Multi-element systems such as the vertebral column of vertebrates represent a major challenge to phenotypic quantification and macroevolutionary analyses. The vertebral column is a metameric structure, composed of serially repeated subunits, and much of what is known so far has been inferred from sparse anatomical samples, providing little insight into local-scale (i.e. vertebra-to-vertebra) variation and its macroevolutionary importance. This limits understanding of how evolutionary constraints and functional adaptation interact during the evolution of multi-element phenotypes....
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