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Alternate Pathways of Body Shape Evolution Translate into Common Patterns of Locomotor Evolution in Two Clades of Lizards

Abstract
Body shape has a fundamental impact on organismal function, but it is unknown how functional morphology and locomotor performance and kinematics relate across a diverse array of body shapes. We showed that although patterns of body shape evolution differed considerably between lizards of the Phrynosomatinae and Lerista, patterns of locomotor evolution coincided between clades. Specifically, we found that the phrynosomatines evolved a stocky phenotype through body widening and limb shortening, whereas Lerista evolved elongation through body lengthening and limb shortening. In both clades, relative limb length played a key role in locomotor evolution and kinematic strategies, with long-limbed species moving faster and taking longer strides. In Lerista, the body axis also influenced locomotor evolution. Similar patterns of locomotor evolution were likely due to constraints on how the body can move. However, these common patterns of locomotor evolution between the two clades resulted in different kinematic strategies and levels of performance among species because of their morphological differences. Furthermore, we found no evidence that distinct body shapes are adaptations to different substrates, as locomotor kinematics did not change on loose or solid substrates. Our findings illustrate the importance of studying kinematics to understand the mechanisms of locomotor evolution and phenotype-function relationships.
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2010-01-01
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