Strong biomechanical relationships bias the tempo and mode of morphological evolution.

Conference Paper

The influence of biomechanics on the tempo and mode of morphological evolution is unresolved, yet is fundamental to organismal diversification. Across multiple four-bar linkage systems in animals, we discovered that rapid morphological evolution (tempo) is associated with mechanical sensitivity (strong correlation between a mechanical system's output and one or more of its components). Mechanical sensitivity is explained by size: the smallest link(s) are disproportionately affected by length changes and most strongly influence mechanical output. Rate of evolutionary change (tempo) is greatest in the smallest links and trait shifts across phylogeny (mode) occur exclusively via the influential, small links. Our findings illuminate the paradigms of many-to-one mapping, mechanical sensitivity, and constraints: tempo and mode are dominated by strong correlations that exemplify mechanical sensitivity, even in linkage systems known for exhibiting many-to-one mapping. Amidst myriad influences, mechanical sensitivity imparts distinct, predictable footprints on morphological diversity.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Muñoz, MM; Hu, Y; Anderson, PSL; Patek, SN

Published Date

  • August 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 /

Start / End Page

  • e37621 -

PubMed ID

  • 30091704

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6133543

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2050-084X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2050-084X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.7554/elife.37621