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Evolution of static allometry and constraint on evolutionary allometry in a fossil stickleback

Cite this dataset

Voje, Kjetil L.; Bell, Michael A.; Stuart, Yoel (2023). Evolution of static allometry and constraint on evolutionary allometry in a fossil stickleback [Dataset]. Dryad.


Allometric scaling describes the relationship of trait size to body size within and among taxa. The slope of the population-level regression of trait size against body size (i.e., static allometry) is typically invariant among closely related populations and species. Such invariance is commonly interpreted to reflect a combination of developmental and selective constraints that delimit a phenotypic space into which evolution could proceed most easily. Thus, understanding how allometric relationships do eventually evolve is important to understanding phenotypic diversification. In a lineage of fossil Threespine Stickleback (Gasterosteus doryssus), we investigated the evolvability of static allometric slopes for nine traits (five armor, and four non-armor) that evolved significant trait differences across 10 samples over 8,500 years. The armor traits showed weak static allometric relationships and a mismatch between those slopes and observed evolution. This suggests that observed evolution in these traits was not constrained by relationships with body size, perhaps because prior, repeated adaptation to freshwater habitats by Threespine Stickleback had generated strong selection to break constraint. In contrast, for non-armor traits, we found stronger allometric relationships. Those allometric slopes did evolve on short time scales. However, those changes were small and fluctuating and the slopes remained strong predictors of the evolutionary trajectory of trait means over time (i.e., evolutionary allometry), supporting the hypothesis of allometry as a constraint.


Please see the published paper associated with these data.

Usage notes

Please see the R code associated with these data for more description of their structure and use.


National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1456462

European Research Council, Award: ERC-2020-STG (948465)

National Science Foundation, Award: BSR-8111013

National Science Foundation, Award: EAR-9870337

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-0322818