Data from: Fossils reveal the complex evolutionary history of the mammalian regionalized spine

Katrina Elizabeth Jones, K. D. Angielczyk, P. D. Polly, J. J. Head, V. Fernandez, J. K. Lungmus, S. Tulga & S. E. Pierce
A unique characteristic of mammals is a vertebral column with anatomically distinct regions, but when and how this trait evolved remains unknown. Here we reconstruct vertebral regions and their morphological disparity in the extinct forerunners of mammals, the non-mammalian synapsids, to elucidate the evolution of mammalian axial differentiation. Mapping patterns of regionalization and disparity (heterogeneity) across amniotes reveals that both traits increased during synapsid evolution. However, the onset of regionalization predates increased heterogeneity. Based on...
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