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Ecomorphological patterns of the palatal region in the turtle skull (Reptilia, Testudinata)

Grant number: 19/21787-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2020
Effective date (End): August 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Paleozoology
Principal Investigator:Max Cardoso Langer
Grantee:Guilherme Hermanson Souza
Supervisor: Roger Benson
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Oxford, England  
Associated to the scholarship:19/02086-6 - Evolution of skull shape in extinct and extant turtles, BP.MS


Testudinata is a diverse group of reptiles, with wide-ranging ecomorphologies among both extinct and extant taxa. Representatives of the group can be found in fully aquatic to completely terrestrial environments, which offer them different sorts of resources and also place distinct demands on morphology (e.g. head shape). Given the many dietary preferences presented by turtles, a wide range of palate morphologies is seen across the different extant species. Other, unique palate morphologies are seen only in fossils of extinct species. In this context, phylogenetic comparative methods provide importan ttools to investigate the evolutionary patterns of phenotypic traits (in this case, palateshape). Previous work on turtle skull shape either used 2D data, or excluded fossil species.We propose the first study to account for the 3D shape of the palate of turtles in a phylogenetic context, aiming to characterize the ecomorphological patterns of turtle palatal evolution through their entire evolutionary history. We will analyse the shape variation of extant species and test the correlation of their morphology to diet, using anew multivariate scheme in which several feeding behaviors can be assigned to each species, recognizing that multiple factors can influence palate morphology. These results will be used to quantitatively infer feeding preferences of extinct taxa, which has previously been done only qualitatively (i.e. analogies). In doing so we aim to better understand the diets of extinct turtles along the ecological context of turtle evolution spanning 230 million years. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(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)
HERMANSON, GUILHERME; BENSON, ROGER B. J.; FARINA, BRUNA M.; FERREIRA, GABRIEL S.; LANGER, MAX C.; EVERS, SERJOSCHA W.. Cranial ecomorphology of turtles and neck retraction as a possible trigger of ecological diversification. Evolution, v. 76, n. 11, p. 21-pg., . (19/02086-6, 19/21787-5)

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