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Trends Ecol Evol. 1993 Jan;8(1):9-15. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(93)90124-8.

Evolution and development of the vertebrate skull: The role of pattern formation.

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Dept of Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0334, USA.


The vertebrate skull is anatomically complex and phylogenetically diverse; it presents unique opportunities to examine the role of developmental processes in evolutionary change. Previous studies have largely examined phylogenetic trends in tissue composition or change in the timing of developmental events (heterochrony). Additional important insights may be gained if skull evolution and development are viewed from the standpoint of pattern formation. Contemporary models of pattern formation offer the possibility of linking developmental mechanisms of cranial morphogenesis from the level of genes, through cell biology, to adult form.

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