Facial reconstruction

Search LJMU Research Online

Browse Repository | Browse E-Theses

A method for mapping morphological convergence on three-dimensional digital models: the case of the mammalian sabre-tooth

Melchionna, M, Profico, A, Castiglione, S, Serio, C, Mondanaro, A, Modafferi, M, Tamagnini, D, Maiorano, L, Raia, P, Witmer, LM, Wroe, S and Sansalone, G (2021) A method for mapping morphological convergence on three-dimensional digital models: the case of the mammalian sabre-tooth. Palaeontology, 64 (4). pp. 573-584. ISSN 0031-0239

A method for mapping morphological convergence on three-dimensional digital models the case of the mammalian sabre-tooth.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview
Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/pala.12542 (Published version)


Morphological convergence can be assessed using a variety of statistical methods. None of the methods proposed to date enable the visualization of convergence. All are based on the assumption that the phenotypes either converge, or do not. However, between species, morphologically similar regions of a larger structure may behave differently. Previous approaches do not identify these regions within the larger structures or quantify the degree to which they may contribute to overall convergence. Here, we introduce a new method to chart patterns of convergence on three-dimensional models using the R function conv.map. The convergence between pairs of models is mapped onto them to visualize and quantify the morphological convergence. We applied conv.map to a well-known case study, the sabre-tooth morphotype, which has evolved independently among distinct mammalian clades from placentals to metatherians. Although previous authors have concluded that sabre-tooths kill using a stabbing ‘bite’ to the neck, others have presented different interpretations for specific taxa, including the iconic Smilodon and Thylacosmilus. Our objective was to identify any shared morphological features among the sabre-tooths that may underpin similar killing behaviours. From a sample of 49 placental and metatherian carnivores, we found stronger convergence among sabre-tooths than for any other taxa. The morphological convergence is most apparent in the rostral and posterior parts of the cranium. The extent of this convergence suggests similarity in function among these phylogenetically distant species. In our view, this function is most likely to be the killing of relatively large prey using a stabbing bite.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Barbourofelidae; conv; EVOLUTION; Felidae; Life Sciences & Biomedicine; morphological convergence; Paleontology; PREDATORY BEHAVIOR; sabre‐ Science & Technology; search; SHAPE; Thylacosmilidae; tooth carnivore; Science & Technology; Life Sciences & Biomedicine; Paleontology; morphological convergence; search; conv; Felidae; Barbourofelidae; Thylacosmilidae; sabre‐ tooth carnivore; PREDATORY BEHAVIOR; EVOLUTION; SHAPE; Paleontology; 0403 Geology; 0602 Ecology; 0603 Evolutionary Biology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Wiley
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2022 09:26
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2022 09:30
DOI or ID number: 10.1111/pala.12542
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17629
View Item View Item