Data from: Patterns of morphological integration in the appendicular skeleton of mammalian carnivores
Martín-Serra, Alberto; Figueirido, Borja; Pérez-Claros, Juan Antonio; Palmqvist, Paul (2014), Data from: Patterns of morphological integration in the appendicular skeleton of mammalian carnivores, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m8440
We investigated patterns of evolutionary integration in the appendicular skeleton of mammalian carnivores. The findings are discussed in relation to performance selection in terms of organismal function as a potential mechanism underlying integration. Interspecific shape covariation was quantified by 2B-PLS analysis of 3D landmark data within a phylogenetic context. Specifically, we compared pairs of anatomically connected bones (within-limbs) and pairs of both serially homologous and functional equivalent bones (between-limbs). The statistical results of all the comparisons suggest that the carnivoran appendicular skeleton is highly integrated. Strikingly, the main shape covariation relates to bone robustness in all cases. A bootstrap test specifically developed to compare the degree of integration between specialized cursorial taxa (i.e., those whose forelimbs are primarily involved in locomotion) and non-cursorial species (i.e., those whose forelimbs are involved in more functions than their hind limb) showed that cursors have a more integrated appendicular skeleton than non-cursors. The findings demonstrate that natural selection can influence the pattern and degree of morphological integration by increasing the degree of bone shape covariation in parallel to ecological specialization.