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Xenarthran (Mammalia) cranial evolution: modularity and its evolutionary consequences on the morphological diversification

Grant number: 12/24937-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2013
Effective date (End): June 29, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Principal researcher:Gabriel Henrique Marroig Zambonato
Grantee:Alex Christian Rohrig Hubbe
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:11/14295-7 - Modularity and its evolutionary consequences, AP.TEM


Xenarthra correspond to one of the major four eutherian mammal clades. Studies dealing with this magnaordem are abundant and diverse, covering topics such as ecology, medicine, physiology, evolution, among others. However, concerning the evolution of the group, little is known about the processes involved in the morphological diversification and the evolutionary consequences of each genus' genetic architecture in the evolution of their phenotypes. What is the importance of the constraints imposed by the modular organization in Xenarthran morphological diversification? What is the role of body size in the modular organization within this magnaorder? How does the line of least evolutionary resistance influence the morphological evolution of the group? Applying techniques of quantitative genetics, this project aims to answer the questions outlined above. For this purpose, the skull will be used as a study model and the analyses will be performed with linear distances from 2667 specimens measured, representing 12 of the 14 extant genera and seven from the several extinct genera. Based on the equation of the multivariate response to selection (”z = P ²) and applying random selection gradient vectors (²), a series of statistics will be computed to understand how the variance/covariance phenotypic matrix (P) restricts the responsiveness in the evolution of mean characters (”z) to the selective pressures (²). Also, metrics will be derived to assess if the morphological evolution between lineages occurred over the line of least evolutionary resistance and if this line affects the direction and magnitude of evolutionary change. In a broad perspective, the aim of this project is contribute to the growing knowledge about the morphological evolution of mammals as a whole.

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Scientific publications (5)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
MACHADO, FABIO A.; MARROIG, GABRIEL; HUBBE, ALEX. he pre-eminent role of directional selection in generating extreme morphological change in glyptodonts (Cingulata; Xenarthra. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, v. 289, n. 1967 JAN 26 2022. Web of Science Citations: 1.
MACHADO, FABIO A.; HUBBE, ALEX; MELO, DIOGO; PORTO, ARTHUR; MARROIG, GABRIEL. Measuring the magnitude of morphological integration: The effect of differences in morphometric representations and the inclusion of size. Evolution, OCT 2019. Web of Science Citations: 1.
ASSIS, A. P. A.; PATTON, J. L.; HUBBE, A.; MARROIG, G. Directional selection effects on patterns of phenotypic (co)variation in wild populations. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, v. 283, n. 1843 NOV 30 2016. Web of Science Citations: 5.
HUBBE, ALEX; MELO, DIOGO; MARROIG, GABRIEL. A case study of extant and extinct Xenarthra cranium covariance structure: implications and applications to paleontology. PALEOBIOLOGY, v. 42, n. 3, p. 465-488, SUM 2016. Web of Science Citations: 3.
HUBBE, MARK; STRAUSS, ANDRE; HUBBE, ALEX; NEVES, WALTER A. Early South Americans Cranial Morphological Variation and the Origin of American Biological Diversity. PLoS One, v. 10, n. 10 OCT 14 2015. Web of Science Citations: 10.

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