Patterns of correlated character evolution in flightless birds: a phylogenetic approach

  title={Patterns of correlated character evolution in flightless birds: a phylogenetic approach},
  author={Jorge Cubo and Wallace Arthur},
  journal={Evolutionary Ecology},
Given a robust phylogeny for a particular higher taxon, it is possible to map the evolution of various character changes onto the phylogeny and study the extent to which they co-occur. Of particular interest are the questions of (a) whether particular morphological changes tend to accompany changes in ecology or behaviour to which they bear a functional relationship and (b) whether changes in those ‘primary’ morphological characters tend to be associated with correlated changes in other aspects… 

Evidence for speciational change in the evolution of ratites (Aves: Palaeognathae)

This method is applied to a dataset from ratites and concludes that, for a range of morphological features, change tends to have been speciational rather than gradual.

Convergent morphological responses to loss of flight in rails (Aves: Rallidae)

Investigating morphological consequences of flightlessness in a bird family where the condition has evolved repeatedly finds that morphological variation was greater among flightless rails than flighted ones, suggesting that relaxation of physiological demands during the transition to flightlessness frees morphological traits to evolve in response to more varied ecological opportunities.

Higher-order phylogeny of modern birds (Theropoda, Aves: Neornithes) based on comparative anatomy. II. Analysis and discussion

A phylogenetic (cladistic) analysis of 150 taxa of Neornithes, including exemplars from all non-passeriform families, and subordinal representatives of Passeriformes, confirmed the topology among outgroup Theropoda and achieved robust resolution at virtually all levels of the NeornIthes.

Flightlessness affects cranial morphology in birds.

Cranial shape and correlated characters in crocodilian evolution

Results suggest cranial ESCs do affect cranial character‐state gains in phylogeny and it is possible that nonphylogenetic variables could affect inferences of crocodilian phylogeny by affecting cranial morphology.

Functional and evolutionary consequences of cranial fenestration in birds

Modeling and developmental experiments indicate that the lateral bar is load‐bearing and suggest that this function was transferred to other bony elements when it was lost in palaeognaths, and it is possible that the loss of the load‐ bearing lateral bar might have constrained diversification of skull morphology in palaiognaths and thus limited taxonomic diversity within the group.

Genomic support for a moa-tinamou clade and adaptive morphological convergence in flightless ratites.

Analysis of morphological characters reinterpreted on a 27-gene paleognath topology indicates that many characters are convergent in the ratites, probably as the result of adaptation to a cursorial life style.

Evolutionary trends in the flowers of Asteridae: is polyandry an alternative to zygomorphy?

The analyses reveal that the evolution of floral symmetry in Asteridae is conditioned by both androecium organ number and perianth merism and that zygomorphy is a prerequisite to the emergence of spurs.


This new and fully testable theory explains many diverse cases of the heterochronic changes characteristic of island syndrome, including flightlessness in birds, and suggests that the hormone phenotype of mainland founders determines life history traits and body size of island descendants.

Simultaneous Wing Molt as a Catalyst for the Evolution of Flightlessness in Birds

An elevated rate of loss of flight in lineages with simultaneous wing molt is found, which may indicate that birds with simultaneous molt are more prepared to adjust quickly to open niches that do not require flight, such as terrestrial niches on island habitats.



The evolution of echinoderm development is driven by several distinct factors.

  • G. WrayA. Bely
  • Biology
    Development (Cambridge, England). Supplement
  • 1994
Preliminary phylogenetic analyses of comparative data suggest that at least three distinct evolutionary mechanisms have shaped early development in echinoderms.

Trends in the functional morphology and sensorimotor control of feeding behavior in salamanders: An example of the role of internal dynamics in evolution

It is shown how parallel evolution of seemingly unrelated domains within an organism such as respiratory physiology, life history biology and pattern of ontogeny has rather direct relevance to the feeding biology, thus demonstrating that organisms always evolve as wholes.

Data set incongruence and correlated character evolution: an example of functional convergence in the hind-limbs of stifftail diving ducks.

Mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences of eight stifftail species traditionally supposed to form a clade were compared with each other and with sequences from 50 other anseriform and galliform species and demonstrate how the concept of natural data partitions and simple models of evolution can be used to test the accuracy of independent phylogenetic estimates and provide arguments in favor of one tree topology over another.

Evolutionarily Stable Configurations: Functional Integration and the Evolution of Phenotypic Stability

Phenotypic evolution has been studied since Darwin established the fact of evolution, but the understanding of the mechanisms of phenotypesic evolution is far less developed than the knowledge of molecular evolution.

Evo-devo: the evolution of a new discipline

  • R. Raff
  • Biology
    Nature Reviews Genetics
  • 2000
Evolution cannot be understood without understanding the evolution of development, and how the process of development itself biases or constrains evolution.

The origin and evolution of birds

Ornithologist and evolutionary biologist Alan Feduccia, author of "Age of Birds," here draws on fossil evidence and studies of the structure and biochemistry of living birds to present knowledge and data on avian evolution and propose a model of this evolutionary process.

Heterochrony: Developmental mechanisms and evolutionary results

The objective is to redefine heterochrony more broadly so that the concept becomes readily applicable to the evolution of the full range of ontogenetic processes, from embryogenesis through the adult.