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Data from: The good, the bad, and the ugly: the influence of skull reconstructions and intraspecific variability in studies of cranial morphometrics in theropods and basal saurischians

Citation

Foth, Christian; Rauhut, Oliver W. M. (2013), Data from: The good, the bad, and the ugly: the influence of skull reconstructions and intraspecific variability in studies of cranial morphometrics in theropods and basal saurischians, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6ss84

Abstract

Several studies investigating macroevolutionary skull shape variation in fossil reptiles were published recently, often using skull reconstructions taken from the scientific literature. However, this approach could be potentially problematic, because skull reconstructions might differ notably due to incompleteness and/or deformation of the material. Furthermore, the influence of intraspecific variation has usually not been explored in these studies. Both points could influence the results of morphometric analyses by affecting the relative position of species to each other within the morphospace. The aim of the current study is to investigate the variation in morphometric data between skull reconstructions based on the same specimen, and to compare the results to shape variation occurring in skull reconstructions based on different specimens of the same species (intraspecific variation) and skulls of closely related species (intraspecific variation). Based on the current results, shape variation of different skull reconstructions based on the same specimen seems to have generally little influence on the results of a geometric morphometric analysis, although it cannot be excluded that some erroneous reconstructions of poorly preserved specimens might cause problems occasionally. In contrast, for different specimens of the same species the variation is generally higher than between different reconstructions based on the same specimen. For closely related species, at least with similar ecological preferences in respect to the dietary spectrum, the degree of interspecific variation can overlap with that of intraspecific variation, most probably due to similar biomechanical constraints.

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