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Title: Geometric morphometric exploration of the skull phenotypic matrix of Columbimorphae (Pteroclidiformes, Mesitornithiformes and Columbiformes) : allometry, heterochrony, ecological factors, modularity, biomechanics, diet, and domestication
Author: Campuzano, Cesar Augusto Espinoza
ISNI:       0000 0004 8502 7906
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis deals with the interplay between developmental constraints and ecomorphological factors in the skull shape evolution in Columbimorphae. Columbimorphae is a group of birds that includes the Mesitornithiformes (mesites), Pteroclidiformes (sandgrouses), and Columbiformes (pigeons and doves). Columbiformes have a wide geographical distribution, exhibit a wide range of body sizes, and have high ecological and morphological diversity. It includes iconic species like the dodo (Raphus cucullatus), the Rodrigues solitaire (Pezophaps solitaria), and the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius). This diversity shown in Columbiformes, along with their well resolved phylogenetic relationships makes this clade a good study system to perform macro-evolutionary research. This thesis is focussed on a pluralistic view of phenotypical evolution. For this reason, I tested ecological factors (distribution, body size, centroid size, feeding strategy and biomechanical performance) and developmental factors (allometry, heterochrony, modularity, integration) to examine the skull evolution. My research sheds light into various evolutionary phenomena, showing that the dodo and the Rodrigues solitaire follow allometry and heterochrony; that modularity and integration are not sufficient to explain the columbiform skull shape; that ecomorphological factors have shaped the pigeon skull; that differences in biomechanical performance are associated with different feeding strategies; that domestication does not only increases the amount of morphological disparity using existent axes of variation but successfully explores and incorporates new axis of variation; and that different phenotypic matrices are not usually comparable and generalizable because matrices of wild Columbiformes, domestic (Columba livia) and feral individuals (C. livia) are unequal and do not share the same axes of variation. My overall results suggest that both ecomorphology and development influenced the evolution of the pigeon skull. My research also warns against the generalization of species patterns of constraints (modularity and integration) across taxonomic scales.
Supervisor: Friedman, Matt ; Benson, Roger Sponsor: CONACyT (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología ; Mexico) ; St. Hugh's College: Travel Grant and Barbinder Watson Trust Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Macroevolution ; Evolution ; Heterochorny ; Pigeons ; Geometric Morphometrics ; Biomechanics ; Birds ; Domestication