MORALES miriam mariana
congresos y reuniones científicas
Phylogenetic morphometrics and the evolution of skull shape in the felid lineage
Punta del Este
Congreso; 9th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology; 2010
Institución organizadora:
International Society of Vertebrate Morphologists
The Felidae (Mammalia: Carnivora) comprise 41 extant species in 14 genera. Felids are hypercanivores with homogeneous skull morphology, with interspecific differences likely due to variation in size along a common ontogenetic trajectory. Recent phylogenies recover pantherine and feline cats as sister clades. We investigated the evolution of skull shape in felids by means of a new method of phylogenetic reconstruction of ancestral landmark configurations (Catalano et al., Cladistics in press). We digitalized 24 lateral, 29 ventral and 15 mandibular bidimensional landmarks for at least one specimen of each species. Configurations of each view were separately optimized on the most recently published phylogeny. The new method reconstructs ancestral configurations in such a way that the total changes of landmark positions are minimized along the tree. Doing so amounts to maximizing the degree to which similar positions of the landmarks in different taxa can be accounted for by common ancestry, i.e. parsimony. In our application to the felids, skull shape appears remarkably conserved at internal nodes, with most changes occurring either at the basal felid split or at terminal branches. These changes can be readily associated both with recognized characters used in felid systematics and with functional and ontogenetic aspects of the felid skull, so that each ancestral configuration was confidently reconstructed on the basis of descendant species. This technique can also be used in tree search in combination with characters of any kind and offers great potential for the study of the evolution of shape.