Just out @ Evolution
Digest: Old world climates give rise to ‘young’ lizard skulls
Shared environmental pressures often give rise to the convergence of morphological characters in unrelated and geographically distinct species. Darwin (1859) wrote that “analogous variation” of traits in different organisms could be explained by similar influences or challenges in their environment. Convergence of traits can be driven by adaptive radiation when animals invade similar ecological feeding niches and consequently converge on similar morphologies, such as broader beak shape in seed-crushing species of Darwin’s finches (Grant, 1999). Climate can also be a factor, as demonstrated by morphological convergence of rodents from distinct arid habitats in the Sonoran (SW United States) and Monte (NW Argentina; Mares, 1976) Deserts. Observed patterns of ecomorphology suggest that overall body size decreases with warmer climates (Bergmann’s Rule), while limb length increases (Allen’s Rule; Schreider, 1951). Despite clear evidence of a relationship between morphology and environment, the mechanisms underlying trait convergence are not always clear.
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