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Elife. 2018 Aug 9;7. pii: e37621. doi: 10.7554/eLife.37621.

Strong biomechanical relationships bias the tempo and mode of morphological evolution.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, United States.
2
Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, United States.
3
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, United States.
4
Department of Animal Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, United States.

Abstract

The influence of biomechanics on the tempo and mode of morphological evolution is unresolved, yet is fundamental to organismal diversification. Across multiple four-bar linkage systems in animals, we discovered that rapid morphological evolution (tempo) is associated with mechanical sensitivity (strong correlation between a mechanical system's output and one or more of its components). Mechanical sensitivity is explained by size: the smallest link(s) are disproportionately affected by length changes and most strongly influence mechanical output. Rate of evolutionary change (tempo) is greatest in the smallest links and trait shifts across phylogeny (mode) occur exclusively via the influential, small links. Our findings illuminate the paradigms of many-to-one mapping, mechanical sensitivity, and constraints: tempo and mode are dominated by strong correlations that exemplify mechanical sensitivity, even in linkage systems known for exhibiting many-to-one mapping. Amidst myriad influences, mechanical sensitivity imparts distinct, predictable footprints on morphological diversity.

KEYWORDS:

cichlids; ecology; evolutionary rates; four bar linkages; many-to-one mapping; stomatopoda; wrasses

PMID:
30091704
PMCID:
PMC6133543
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.37621
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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