Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Using geometric morphometric visualizations of directional selection gradients to investigate morphological differentiation

Citation

Weaver, Timothy D.; Gunz, Philipp (2018), Data from: Using geometric morphometric visualizations of directional selection gradients to investigate morphological differentiation, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.9111kr8

Abstract

Researchers studying extant and extinct taxa are often interested in identifying the evolutionary processes that have lead to the morphological differences among the taxa. Ideally, one could distinguish the influences of neutral evolutionary processes (genetic drift, mutation) from natural selection, and in situations for which selection is implicated, identify the targets of selection. The directional selection gradient is an effective tool for investigating evolutionary process, because it can relate form (size and shape) differences between taxa to the variation and covariation found within taxa. However, although most modern morphometric analyses use the tools of geometric morphometrics (GM) to analyze landmark data, to date, selection gradients have mainly been calculated from linear measurements. To address this methodological gap, here we present a GM approach for visualizing and comparing between-taxon selection gradients with each other, associated difference vectors, and "selection" gradients from neutral simulations. To exemplify our approach, we use a dataset of 347 three-dimensional landmarks and semilandmarks recorded on the crania of 260 primate specimens (112 humans, 67 common chimpanzees, 36 bonobos, 45 gorillas). Results on this example dataset show how incorporating geometric information can provide important insights into the evolution of the human braincase, and serve to demonstrate the utility of our approach for understanding morphological evolution.

Usage Notes