Data from: The evolution of the dicynodont sacrum: constraint and innovation in the synapsid axial column

Christopher T. Griffin & Kenneth D. Angielczyk
Constraint is a universal feature of morphological evolution. The vertebral column of synapsids (mammals and their close relatives) is a classic example of this phenotypic restriction, with greatly reduced variation in the number of vertebrae compared to the sauropsid lineage. Synapsids generally possess only three sacral vertebrae, which articulate with the ilium and play a key role in locomotion. Dicynodont anomodonts are the exception to this rule, possessing seven or more sacral vertebrae while reaching...
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