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Mini-review Life history and morphological evolution

By James Hanken


evolution; ontogeny; amphibians; metamorphosis. Morphological evolution is influenced by a wide variety of processes, at levels that likely range from molecules to communities, or even ecosystems. The relative contributions of these processes and other biological properties to morphological evolution in individual lineages, and their ultimate role in mediating the evolutionary success of these groups, remain fundamental problems in evolutionary biology (e.g., Miiller and Wagner, 1991; Nitecki, 1990; Roth and Wake, 1989). One underappreciated feature, at least with respect to its potential role in the evolution of morphology, is life history. Organisms with a complex life history comprising a series of discrete, free-living stages might be expected to possess more morphological adaptations than taxa with simple life histories, especially when successive stages occupy radically different environments. Also, the genetic and developmental mechanisms that underlie the sequential appearance of distinct phenotypes might be expected to allow, if not actually facilitate, morphological change at one stage without correlated effects at others to an extent not possible with a simpler lif

Year: 2014
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