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Deep-time evolution of the cranial muscles in bony vertebrates

Grant number: 23/02499-4
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: July 01, 2023 - June 30, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Morphology of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Aléssio Datovo da Silva
Grantee:Aléssio Datovo da Silva
Host Institution: Museu de Zoologia (MZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers: George David Johnson


Despite the plethora of studies on the evolutionary osteology of bony vertebrates (Osteichthyes), the deep-time evolution of their cranial muscles remains largely unknown. Moreover, a preliminary analysis of an African coelacanth and an Australian lungfish revealed that the scant existing knowledge about this topic is surprisingly imprecise. An exploratory analysis incorporating these new findings reveals that the earliest cladogeneses of bony fishes were probably characterized by unbalanced rates of morphological change in the cranial muscles. The present project aims to clarify and deepen these issues by studying key representatives of major fish lineages, including extremely rare taxa that have been made available for this study. The data on the cranial muscle attachments will also be subjected to an anatomical network analysis, an emerging and innovative field of evolutionary morphology that seems to be unexplored in Brazil. The results of this research have the potential to rewrite the entire history of the deep-time evolution of cranial muscles in bony fishes. (AU)

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