Life-History Correlates of Placental Structure in Eutherian Evolution

  title={Life-History Correlates of Placental Structure in Eutherian Evolution},
  author={Eric Lewitus and C. Soligo},
  journal={Evolutionary Biology},
The eutherian placenta shows remarkable evolutionary plasticity. To date, however, success in identifying selection pressures behind the observed diversity of placental structures has been limited. Evolutionary convergence among definitive placental morphologies and between placental morphologies and life-history variables can be used to suggest functions of derived aspects of placentation. In this paper, we use, for the first time, a comprehensive phylogenetic comparative approach to map… 
Diversification of the eutherian placenta is associated with changes in the pace of life
It is demonstrated that life history differences among eutherian mammals are associated with major transitions in maternofetal interdigitation and placental invasiveness, and that selection for a faster pace of life intensifies parent–offspring conflict.
Placental Evolution in Therian Mammals
The intimate interdependence of reproduction, anatomy, and physiology in mammals and their roles during the transition to the mammalian condition has presented a fascinating puzzle to vertebrate biologists.
Natural Constraints to Species Diversification
A novel, non-parametric approach is used and 214 family-level phylogenies of vertebrates representing over 500 million years of evolution are used to identify major diversification modes, to characterize phylogenetic space, and to evaluate the bounds and central tendencies of species diversification.
Cellular signatures in the primary visual cortex of phylogeny and placentation
There is evidence for cellular signatures of phylogenetic divergence from the mammalian trend in primates and carnivores, as well as considerably divergent scaling patterns between the primate suborders, Strepsirrhini and Haplorrhini, that likely originated at the anthropoid stem.
Matrotrophy and placentation in invertebrates: a new paradigm
It is reported that regardless of the degree of expression, matrotrophy is established or inferred in at least 21 of 34 animal phyla, significantly exceeding previous accounts and changing the old paradigm that these phenomena are infrequent among invertebrates.
Maternal-fetal unit interactions and eutherian neocortical development and evolution
A hypothesis of brain evolution where proliferative compartments in primates become activated by “non-classical” endocrine placental signals participating in different steps of corticogenesis is proposed.
Adaptations of the Marsupial Newborn: Birth as an Extreme Environment
The adaptations of the marsupial neonate for survival at an embryonic state are reviewed, showing that the neonate exhibits a mosaic of accelerations and delays of various tissues and organs as well as several special adaptations to produce the functioning newborn.
An Adaptive Threshold in Mammalian Neocortical Evolution
It is provided evidence that the evolution of a highly folded neocortex, as observed in humans, requires the traversal of a threshold of ∼109 neurons, and that species above and below the threshold exhibit a bimodal distribution of physiological and life-history traits, establishing two phenotypic groups.
Mammalian embryology and organogenesis 4 . 1 Historical introduction
The present chapter is to provide a general overview of the main developmental differences among the three major mammalian groups, including man, to prevent diseases and to select for particular forms through domestication.


Evolution of the mammalian placenta revealed by phylogenetic analysis.
Using phylogenetic and statistical analyses of molecular and morphological data, it is demonstrated that the ancestral eutherian mammalian placenta had the distinctive features of (i) hemochorial placental interface, (ii) a discoid shape, and (iii) a labyrinthine maternofetal interdigitation.
Phylogenetic evidence for early hemochorial placentation in eutheria.
Retroposed Elements as Archives for the Evolutionary History of Placental Mammals
Two retropositions provide new support for a prior scenario of early mammalian evolution that places the basal placental divergence between Xenarthra and Epitheria, the latter comprising all remaining placentals.
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  • A. Mess, A. Carter
  • Biology
    Journal of experimental zoology. Part B, Molecular and developmental evolution
  • 2006
A reconstruction of the evolution of characters associated with placentation, the fetal membranes and the female reproductive tract is attempted and it is possible to identify morphological characters that could be synapomorphic for this novel taxon Afrotheria.
Evolution of the placenta in eutherian mammals.
Genomics, biogeography, and the diversification of placental mammals
Crown placental mammalian diversification appears to be largely the result of ancient plate tectonic events that allowed time for convergent phenotypes to evolve in the descendant clades.
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  • W. Luckett
  • Biology
    The Journal of experimental zoology
  • 1993
Fetal membrane data have their greatest input into assessing mammalian phylogeny when they are evaluated in conjunction with the available cranioskeletal and molecular evidence.
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Eutherian-style trophoblast probably originated in the Mesozoic, and boosts in diversity were probably secondary and dependent upon prior innovation of trophoblastic/uterine wall immunological protection of foetal tissues during prolonged intra-uterine development.
Using genomic data to unravel the root of the placental mammal phylogeny.
The genome sequence assemblies of human, armadillo, elephant, and opossum are analyzed to identify informative coding indels that would serve as rare genomic changes to infer early events in placental mammal phylogeny and suggest Afrotheria and Xenarthra diverged from other placental mammals approximately 103 (95-114) million years ago.