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Innovation and elaboration on the avian tree of life (1 Viewer)

Fred Ruhe

Well-known member
Thomas Guillerme, Jen A. Bright, Christopher R. Cooney, Emma C. Hughes, Zoë K. Varley, Natalie Cooper, Andrew P. Beckerman and Gavin H. Thomas, 2023

Innovation and elaboration on the avian tree of life

SCIENCE ADVANCES 9(43): eadg1641

doi: 10.1126/sciadv.adg1641

Free pdf: https://www.science.org/doi/epdf/10.1126/sciadv.adg1641


Widely documented, megaevolutionary jumps in phenotypic diversity continue to perplex researchers because it remains unclear whether these marked changes can emerge from microevolutionary processes. Here, we tackle this question using new approaches for modeling multivariate traits to evaluate the magnitude and distribution of elaboration and innovation in the evolution of bird beaks. We find that elaboration, evolution along the major axis of phenotypic change, is common at both macro- and megaevolutionary scales, whereas innovation, evolution away from the major axis of phenotypic change, is more prominent at megaevolutionary scales. The major axis of phenotypic change among species beak shapes at megaevolutionary scales is an emergent property of innovation across clades. Our analyses suggest that the reorientation of phenotypes via innovation is a ubiquitous route for divergence that can arise through gradual change alone, opening up further avenues for evolution to explore.



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