Feeding ecology has a stronger evolutionary influence on functional morphology than on body mass in mammals

David Grossnickle
Ecological specialization is a central driver of adaptive evolution. However, selective pressures may uniquely affect different ecomorphological traits (e.g., size and shape), complicating efforts to investigate the role of ecology in generating phenotypic diversity. Comparative studies can help remedy this issue by identifying specific relationships between ecologies and morphologies, thus elucidating functionally-relevant traits. Jaw shape is a dietary correlate that offers considerable insight on mammalian evolution, but few studies have examined the influence of diet...
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