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Ecomorphology of toothed whales (Cetacea, Odontoceti) as revealed by 3D skull geometry

Vicari, D, McGowen, MR, Lambert, O, Brown, RP, Bianucci, G, Sabin, RC and Meloro, C (2023) Ecomorphology of toothed whales (Cetacea, Odontoceti) as revealed by 3D skull geometry. Journal of Mammalian Evolution. ISSN 1064-7554

Ecomorphology of toothed whales (Cetacea, Odontoceti) as revealed by 3D skull geometry.pdf - Published Version
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Extant odontocetes (toothed whales) exhibit differences in body size and brain mass, biosonar mode, feeding strategies, and diving and habitat adaptations. Strong selective pressures associated with these factors have likely contributed to the morphological diversification of their skull. Here, we used 3D landmark geometric morphometric data from the skulls of 60 out of ~ 72 extant odontocete species and a well-supported phylogenetic tree to test whether size and shape variation are associated with ecological adaptations at an interspecific scale. Odontocete skull morphology exhibited a significant phylogenetic signal, with skull size showing stronger signal than shape. After accounting for phylogeny, significant associations were detected between skull size and biosonar mode, body length, brain and body mass, maximum and minimum prey size, and maximum peak frequency. Brain mass was also strongly correlated with skull shape together with surface temperature and average and minimum prey size. When asymmetric and symmetric components of shape were analysed separately, a significant correlation was detected between sea surface temperature and both symmetric and asymmetric components of skull shape, and between diving ecology and the asymmetric component. Skull shape variation of odontocetes was strongly influenced by evolutionary allometry but most of the associations with ecological variables were not supported after phylogenetic correction. This suggests that ecomorphological feeding adaptations vary more between, rather than within, odontocete families, and functional anatomical patterns across odontocete clades are canalised by size constraints.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0608 Zoology; Evolutionary Biology
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Springer Verlag
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 18 May 2023 11:33
Last Modified: 18 May 2023 11:45
DOI or ID number: 10.1007/s10914-022-09642-4
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19527
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