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The turtle shell offers a fascinating case study of vertebrate evolution, based on the modification of a common body plan. The carapace is formed from ribs, which encapsulate the scapula; this stands in contrast to the typical amniote body plan and serves as a key to understanding turtle evolution. Comparative analyses of musculoskeletal development between(More)
A defining feature of tetrapod evolutionary origins is the transition from fish fins to tetrapod limbs. A major change during this transition is the appearance of the autopod (hands, feet), which comprises two distinct regions, the wrist/ankle and the digits. When the autopod first appeared in Late Devonian fossil tetrapods, it was incomplete: digits(More)
Vertebrate head development is a classical topic that has received renewed attention during the last decade. Most reports use one of a few model organisms (chicken, mouse, zebrafish) and have focused on molecular mechanisms and the role of the neural crest, while cranial muscle development has received less attention. Here we describe cranial muscle(More)
Cartilage of the vertebrate jaw is derived from cranial neural crest cells that migrate to the first pharyngeal arch and form a dorsal "maxillary" and a ventral "mandibular" condensation. It has been assumed that the former gives rise to palatoquadrate and the latter to Meckel's (mandibular) cartilage. In anamniotes, these condensations were thought to form(More)
The role of cranial neural crest cells in the formation of visceral arch musculature was investigated in the Mexican axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum. DiI (1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethylindocarbocyanine, perchlorate) labeling and green fluorescent protein (GFP) mRNA injections combined with unilateral transplantations of neural folds showed that neural(More)
Vertebrate head development is a classical topic lately invigorated by methodological as well as conceptual advances. In contrast to the classical segmentalist views going back to idealistic morphology, the head is now seen not as simply an extension of the trunk, but as a structure patterned by different mechanisms and tissues. Whereas the trunk paraxial(More)
Bilaterian Hox genes play pivotal roles in the specification of positional identities along the anteroposterior axis. Particularly in vertebrates, their regulation is tightly coordinated by tandem arrays of genes [paralogy groups (PGs)] in four gene clusters (HoxA-D). Traditionally, the uninterrupted Hox cluster (Hox1-14) of the invertebrate chordate(More)
Locomotor strategies in terrestrial tetrapods have evolved from the utilisation of sinusoidal contractions of axial musculature, evident in ancestral fish species, to the reliance on powerful and complex limb muscles to provide propulsive force. Within tetrapods, a hindlimb-dominant locomotor strategy predominates, and its evolution is considered critical(More)
Muscles of the vertebrate neck include the cucullaris and hypobranchials. Although a functional neck first evolved in the lobe-finned fishes (Sarcopterygii) with the separation of the pectoral/shoulder girdle from the skull, the neck muscles themselves have a much earlier origin among the vertebrates. For example, lampreys possess hypobranchial muscles, and(More)