Data from: Different evolutionary pathways lead to incomplete convergence of elongate body shapes in carnivoran mammals
Cite this dataset
Law, Chris (2022). Data from: Different evolutionary pathways lead to incomplete convergence of elongate body shapes in carnivoran mammals [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.bg79cnpc4
Although convergence is often recognized as a ubiquitous feature across the Tree of Life, whether the underlying traits also exhibit similar evolutionary pathways towards convergent forms puzzles biologists. In carnivoran mammals, “elongate,” “slender,” and “long” are often used to describe and even to categorize mustelids (martens, polecats, and weasels), herpestids (mongooses), viverrids (civets and genets), and other carnivorans together. But just how similar these carnivorans are and whether there is convergence in the morphological component that contribute to elongation has never been assessed. Here, I found that these qualitatively-described elongate carnivorans exhibited incomplete convergence towards elongate bodies compared to other terrestrial carnivorans. In contrast, the morphological components underlying body shape variation do not exhibit convergence despite evidence that these components are more elongate in elongate carnivorans compared to non-elongate carnivorans. Furthermore, these components also exhibited shorter but different phylogenetic half-lives towards more elongate adaptive peaks, indicating that different selective pressures can create multiple pathways to elongation. Incorporating the fossil record will facilitate further investigation of whether body elongation evolved adaptively or if it is simply a retained ancestral trait.