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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Elizabeth R. Dumont

Subject Categories



Ruminant mammals, including the families Bovidae, Cervidae, Tragulidae, Moschidae, Antilocapridae, and Giraffidae, display incredible past and present diversity in morphology, ecology, and behavior. They inhabit an impressive range of environments across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and compel the fascination of naturalists and researchers alike with their charismatic social behavior and conspicuous cranial appendages. I explore the drivers and consequences of this spectacular diversity through a comparative morphological framework, biomechanical modeling approaches, and semi-parametric and likelihood-based methods for estimating state-dependent diversification rates across the ruminant phylogeny. Together, these investigations provide evidence for adaptation via correlated evolution of morphological and behavioral traits, highlight the clade’s rich evolutionary history, and establish promising avenues for further research into the evolution and maintenance of diversity in ruminant mammals.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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