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Title: How can the interplay between form and function enlighten the evolution of organisms in their ecological context?
Author: Fabre, A. O.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 5130
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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Form and function are linked at a fundamental level. Bones, for example, are clearly functionally important. They allow movement and, whilst supporting loads, also need to respond and resist to muscular forces. Indeed, bones are shaped by force and motion and thus, presumably intimately related to the movements executed, and thus also the lifestyle of a species. This is the background of this project where the origin and nature of phenotypic variation is studied in relation to phylogenetic constraints and mechanistic form‐function relationships in the context of adaptations to specific ecological demands. To study this form-function relation I investigated the influence of different factors on the shape of the postcranial bones of mammals using 3D geometric morphometric methods and comparative approaches that take into account phylogeny. Moreover, I tried to infer the function and ecology of an extinct taxon. The results of this PhD show that many factors influence the morphology of the postcranial skeleton ranging from the body mass, over locomotor strategies, to more specialized behaviours such as grasping ability and shared ancestry. The results also highlight the difficulty in inferring function and ecology of extinct taxa, especially for species that have no extant relatives. Finally, our results shown that there is a relation between form and function, but that our understanding thereof remains hampered by a lack of quantitative data on the locomotor behaviour in the taxa under study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available