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1.  Movement adds bite to the evolutionary morphology of mammalian teeth 
BMC Biology  2012;10:69.
Selection and constraints put limits on morphological evolution. Mammalian teeth are no exception, and the need for them to meet precisely exerts exacting constraints on a staggering array of developmental and functional factors that must be integrated to maintain their performance as they evolve. A study in BMC Evolutionary Biology demonstrates that mandibular movement is an important component of this integration, and one that should not be neglected in the quantitiative study of the evolution of tooth morphology.
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PMCID: PMC3420312  PMID: 22898247
dental occlusion; evolutionary constraints; morphological integration; complexity; orientation patch counts
2.  Dissociation of somatic growth from segmentation drives gigantism in snakes 
Biology Letters  2007;3(3):296-298.
Body size is significantly correlated with number of vertebrae (pleomerism) in multiple vertebrate lineages, indicating that change in number of body segments produced during somitogenesis is an important factor in evolutionary change in body size, but the role of segmentation in the evolution of extreme sizes, including gigantism, has not been examined. We explored the relationship between body size and vertebral count in basal snakes that exhibit gigantism. Boids, pythonids and the typhlopid genera, Typhlops and Rhinotyphlops, possess a positive relationship between body size and vertebral count, confirming the importance of pleomerism; however, giant taxa possessed fewer than expected vertebrae, indicating that a separate process underlies the evolution of gigantism in snakes. The lack of correlation between body size and vertebral number in giant taxa demonstrates dissociation of segment production in early development from somatic growth during maturation, indicating that gigantism is achieved by modifying development at a different stage from that normally selected for changes in body size.
PMCID: PMC2464698  PMID: 17389216
gigantism; pleomerism; somitogenesis; dissociation; heterochrony; snakes

Results 1-2 (2)