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Data from: Size variation, growth strategies and the evolution of modularity in the mammalian skull

Citation

Porto, Arthur; Shirai, Leila Teruko; de Oliveira, Felipe Bandoni; Marroig, Gabriel (2013), Data from: Size variation, growth strategies and the evolution of modularity in the mammalian skull, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4d236

Abstract

Allometry is a major determinant of within-population patterns of association among traits and, therefore, a major component of morphological integration studies. Even so, the influence of size variation over evolutionary change has been largely unappreciated. Here, we explore the interplay between allometric size variation, modularity, and life history strategies in the skull from representatives of 35 mammalian families. We start by removing size variation from within-species data and analyzing its influence on integration magnitudes, modularity patterns and responses to selection. We also carry out a simulation in which we artificially alter the influence of size variation in within-taxa matrices. Finally, we establish the relationship between size variation and different growth strategies. We demonstrate that a large portion of the evolution of modularity in the mammalian skull is associated to the evolution of growth strategies. Lineages with highly altricial neonates have adult variation patterns dominated by size variation, leading to high correlations among traits regardless of any underlying modular process and impacting directly their potential to respond to selection. Greater influence of size variation is associated to larger inter-module correlations, less individualized modules, and less flexible responses to natural selection.

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