Just out @ PeerJ
Rates of morphological evolution in Captorhinidae: an adaptive radiation of Permian herbivores
Here I examine the impact of diet evolution on rates of morphological change in one of the earliest tetrapod clades to evolve high-fibre herbivory: Captorhinidae. Using a method of calculating heterogeneity in rates of discrete character change across a phylogeny, it is shown that a significant increase in rates of evolution coincides with the transition to herbivory in captorhinids. The herbivorous captorhinids also exhibit greater morphological disparity than their faunivorous relatives, indicating more rapid exploration of new regions of morphospace. As well as an increase in rates of evolution, there is a shift in the regions of the skeleton undergoing the most change; the character changes in the herbivorous lineages are concentrated in the mandible and dentition. The fact that the increase in rates of evolution coincides with increased change in characters relating to food acquisition provides stronger evidence for a causal relationship between the herbivorous diet and the radiation event.
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