Body Size Evolution (body + size_evolution)

Distribution by Scientific Domains


Selected Abstracts


Body size evolution in Mesozoic birds: little evidence for Cope's rule

JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY, Issue 6 2008
R. J. BUTLER
Abstract Cope's rule, the tendency towards evolutionary increases in body size, is a long-standing macroevolutionary generalization that has the potential to provide insights into directionality in evolution; however, both the definition and identification of Cope's rule are controversial and problematic. A recent study [J. Evol. Biol. 21 (2008) 618] examined body size evolution in Mesozoic birds, and claimed to have identified evidence of Cope's rule occurring as a result of among-lineage species sorting. We here reassess the results of this study, and additionally carry out novel analyses testing for within-lineage patterns in body size evolution in Mesozoic birds. We demonstrate that the nonphylogenetic methods used by this previous study cannot distinguish between among- and within-lineage processes, and that statistical support for their results and conclusions is extremely weak. Our ancestor,descendant within-lineage analyses explicitly incorporate recent phylogenetic hypotheses and find little compelling evidence for Cope's rule. Cope's rule is not supported in Mesozoic birds by the available data, and body size evolution currently provides no insights into avian survivorship through the Cretaceous,Paleogene mass extinction. [source]


A STATISTICAL TEST OF UNBIASED EVOLUTION OF BODY SIZE IN BIRDS

EVOLUTION, Issue 12 2002
Folmer Bokma
Abstract., Of the approximately 9500 bird species, the vast majority is small-bodied. That is a general feature of evolutionary lineages, also observed for instance in mammals and plants. The avian interspecific body size distribution is right-skewed even on a logarithmic scale. That has previously been interpreted as evidence that body size evolution has been biased. However, a procedure to test for unbiased evolution from the shape of body size distributions was lacking. In the present paper unbiased body size evolution is defined precisely, and a statistical test is developed based on Monte Carlo simulation of unbiased evolution. Application of the test to birds suggests that it is highly unlikely that avian body size evolution has been unbiased as defined. Several possible explanations for this result are discussed. A plausible explanation is that the general model of unbiased evolution assumes that population size and generation time do not affect the evolutionary variability of body size; that is, that micro- and macroevolution are decoupled, which theory suggests is not likely to be the case. [source]


Insight into diversity, body size and morphological evolution from the largest Early Cretaceous enantiornithine bird

JOURNAL OF ANATOMY, Issue 5 2008
Zhonghe Zhou
Abstract Most of Mesozoic bird diversity comprises species that are part of one of two major lineages, namely Ornithurae, including living birds, and Enantiornithes, a major radiation traditionally referred to as ,opposite birds'. Here we report the largest Early Cretaceous enantiornithine bird from north-east China, which provides evidence that basal members of Enantiornithes share more morphologies with ornithurine birds than previously recognized. Morphological evolution in these two groups has been thought to be largely parallel, with derived members of Enantiornithes convergent on the ,advanced' flight capabilities of ornithurine birds. The presence of an array of morphologies previously thought to be derived within ornithurine and enantiornithine birds in a basal enantiornithine species provides evidence of the complex character evolution in these two major lineages. The cranial morphology of the new specimen is among the best preserved for Mesozoic avians. The new species extends the size range known for Early Cretaceous Enantiornithes significantly and provides evidence of forelimb to hind limb proportions distinct from all other known members of the clade. As such, it sheds new light on avian body size evolution and diversity, and allows a re-evaluation of a previously proposed hypothesis of competitive exclusion among Early Cretaceous avian clades. [source]


Body size evolution in Mesozoic birds: little evidence for Cope's rule

JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY, Issue 6 2008
R. J. BUTLER
Abstract Cope's rule, the tendency towards evolutionary increases in body size, is a long-standing macroevolutionary generalization that has the potential to provide insights into directionality in evolution; however, both the definition and identification of Cope's rule are controversial and problematic. A recent study [J. Evol. Biol. 21 (2008) 618] examined body size evolution in Mesozoic birds, and claimed to have identified evidence of Cope's rule occurring as a result of among-lineage species sorting. We here reassess the results of this study, and additionally carry out novel analyses testing for within-lineage patterns in body size evolution in Mesozoic birds. We demonstrate that the nonphylogenetic methods used by this previous study cannot distinguish between among- and within-lineage processes, and that statistical support for their results and conclusions is extremely weak. Our ancestor,descendant within-lineage analyses explicitly incorporate recent phylogenetic hypotheses and find little compelling evidence for Cope's rule. Cope's rule is not supported in Mesozoic birds by the available data, and body size evolution currently provides no insights into avian survivorship through the Cretaceous,Paleogene mass extinction. [source]


Cope's rule in cryptodiran turtles: do the body sizes of extant species reflect a trend of phyletic size increase?

JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY, Issue 4 2006
D. S. MOEN
Abstract Cope's rule of phyletic size increase is questioned as a general pattern of body size evolution. Most studies of Cope's rule have examined trends in the paleontological record. However, neontological approaches are now possible due to the development of model-based comparative methods, as well as the availability of an abundance of phylogenetic data. I examined whether the phylogenetic distribution of body sizes in extant cryptodiran turtles is consistent with Cope's rule. To do this, I examined body size evolution in each of six major clades of cryptodiran turtles and also across the whole tree of cryptodirans (n = 201 taxa). Extant cryptodiran turtles do not appear to follow Cope's rule, as no clade showed a significant phyletic body size trend. Previous analyses in other extant vertebrates have also found no evidence for phyletic size increase, which is in contrast to the paleontological data that support the rule in a number of extinct vertebrate taxa. [source]


Isolation of microsatellite loci in the Capricorn silvereye, Zosterops lateralis chlorocephalus (Aves: Zosteropidae)

MOLECULAR ECOLOGY RESOURCES, Issue 3 2003
F. D. Frentiu
Abstract The Capricorn silvereye (Zosterops lateralis chlorocephalus) is ideally suited to investigating the genetic basis of body size evolution. We have isolated and characterized a set of microsatellite markers for this species. Seven out of 11 loci were polymorphic. The number of alleles detected ranged from two to five and observed heterozygosities between 0.12 and 0.67. One locus, ZL49, was found to be sex-linked. This moderate level of diversity is consistent with that expected in an isolated, island population. [source]


Body weight distributions of European Hymenoptera

OIKOS, Issue 3 2006
Werner Ulrich
Species number,body weight distributions are generally thought to be skewed to the right. Hence it is assumed that the number of relatively small species is larger than the number of relatively large species. While this pattern is well documented in vertebrates, comparative studies on larger invertebrate taxa are still scarce. Here I show that the weight distributions of European Hymenoptera (based on 12,601 species body weight data compiled from major catalogues) do not exhibit a general trend towards right skewed species,body weight distributions. Skewness did not depend on the number of species per taxon. Species richness peaked at intermediate body weights irrespective of taxonomic level. Kernel density analysis revealed that hymenopteran taxa had between one and four peaks in their size distributions with larger taxa having fewer peaks. Within genus variability in body weight was allometrically related to mean body weight (,2=,1.81) in line with a proportional rescaling pattern. These results call for a rethinking about the generality of current vertebrate centred models of body size evolution. [source]