The repeated, independent evolution of traits (convergent evolution) is often attributed to shared environmental selection pressures. However, developmental dependencies among traits can limit the phenotypic variation available to selection and bias evolutionary outcomes. Here, we determine how changes in developmentally correlated traits may impact convergent loss of the tympanic middle ear, a highly labile trait within toads that currently lack adaptive explanation. The middle ear's lability could reflect evolutionary trade‐offs with other skull features under selection, or the middle ear may evolve independently of the rest of the skull, allowing it to be modified by active or passive processes without pleiotropic trade‐offs with other skull features. We compare the skulls of 55 species (39 eared, 16 earless) within the family Bufonidae, spanning six hypothesized independent middle ear transitions. We test whether shared or lineage‐specific changes in skull shape distinguish earless species from eared species and whether earless skulls lack other late‐forming skull bones. We find no evidence for pleiotropic trade‐offs between the middle ear and other skull structures. Instead, middle ear loss in anurans may provide a rare example of developmental independence contributing to evolutionary lability of a sensory system.
Evolution – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ;
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera