The relationship between sternum variation and mode of locomotion in birds

Talia M. Lowi-Merri, Roger B. J. Benson, Santiago Claramunt & David C. Evans
Background: The origin of powered avian flight was a locomotor innovation that expanded the ecological potential of maniraptoran dinosaurs, leading to remarkable variation in modern birds (Neornithes). The avian sternum is the anchor for the major flight muscles and, despite varying widely in morphology, has not been extensively studied from evolutionary or functional perspectives. We quantify sternal variation across a broad phylogenetic scope of birds using 3D geometric morphometrics methods. Using this comprehensive dataset, we...
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