The evolution of complex morphological structures can be characterized by the interplay between different anatomical regions evolving under functional integration in response to shared selective pressures. Using the highly derived humeral morphology of talpid moles as a model, here we test whether functional performance is linked to increased levels of evolutionary integration between humerus subunits and, if so, what the strength is of the relationship. Combining two-dimensional geometric morphometrics, phylogenetic comparative methods, and functional landscape modeling, we demonstrate that the high biomechanical performance of subterranean moles’ humeri is coupled with elevated levels of integration, whereas taxa with low-performance values show intermediate or low integration. Theoretical morphs occurring in high-performance areas of the functional landscape are not occupied by any species, and show a marked drop in covariation levels, suggesting the existence of a strong relationship between integration and performance in the evolution of talpid moles’ humeri. We argue that the relative temporal invariance of the subterranean environment may have contributed to stabilize humeral morphology, trapping subterranean moles in a narrow region of the landscape and impeding any attempt to reposition on a new ascending slope.

Trapped in the morphospace: The relationship between morphological integration and functional performance / Gabriele, Sansalone; Colangelo, Paolo; Castiglia, Riccardo; Wroe, Stephen; Castiglione, Silvia; Raia, Pasquale. - In: EVOLUTION. - ISSN 1558-5646. - 76:9(2022), pp. 2020-2031. [10.1111/evo.14575]

Trapped in the morphospace: The relationship between morphological integration and functional performance

Colangelo Paolo;Castiglia Riccardo;
2022

Abstract

The evolution of complex morphological structures can be characterized by the interplay between different anatomical regions evolving under functional integration in response to shared selective pressures. Using the highly derived humeral morphology of talpid moles as a model, here we test whether functional performance is linked to increased levels of evolutionary integration between humerus subunits and, if so, what the strength is of the relationship. Combining two-dimensional geometric morphometrics, phylogenetic comparative methods, and functional landscape modeling, we demonstrate that the high biomechanical performance of subterranean moles’ humeri is coupled with elevated levels of integration, whereas taxa with low-performance values show intermediate or low integration. Theoretical morphs occurring in high-performance areas of the functional landscape are not occupied by any species, and show a marked drop in covariation levels, suggesting the existence of a strong relationship between integration and performance in the evolution of talpid moles’ humeri. We argue that the relative temporal invariance of the subterranean environment may have contributed to stabilize humeral morphology, trapping subterranean moles in a narrow region of the landscape and impeding any attempt to reposition on a new ascending slope.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1657454
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