Project 3415: Jaimi A. Gray, Emma Sherratt, Mark N. Hutchinson, Marc E. H. Jones. 2019. Evolution of cranial shape in a continental-scale evolutionary radiation of Australian lizards. Evolution. Published online:evo.13851.
Specimen: Acanthosaura lepidogaster (:SAMA R64182)
View: PLY surface model of cranium


A defining character of adaptive radiations is the evolution of a diversity of morphological forms that are associated with the use of different habitats, following the invasion of vacant niches. Island adaptive radiations have been thoroughly investigated but continental scale radiations are more poorly understood. Here, we use 52 species of Australian agamid lizards and their Asian relatives as a model group, and employ three-dimensional geometric morphometrics to characterise cranial morphology and investigate whether variation in cranial shape reflects patterns expected from the ecological process of adaptive radiation. Phylogenetic affinity, evolutionary allometry, and ecological life habit all play major roles in the evolution of cranial shape in the sampled lizards. We find a significant association between cranial shapes and life habit. Our results are in line with the expectations of an adaptive radiation, and this is the first time detailed geometric morphometric analyses have been used to understand the selective forces that drove an adaptive radiation at a continental scale.

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Project DOI: 10.7934/P3415,
This project contains
  • 52 Media
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  • 52 Specimens
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    Authors' Institutions

    • University of Auckland


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    Jaimi Gray
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    Last logged in 10/08/19

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