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Type: Journal article
Title: The morphology of the inner ear of squamate reptiles and its bearing on the origin of snakes
Author: Palci, A.
Hutchinson, M.
Caldwell, M.
Lee, M.
Citation: Royal Society Open Science, 2017; 4(8):170685-1-170685-15
Publisher: Royal Society
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 2054-5703
Statement of
Alessandro Palci, Mark N. Hutchinson, Michael W. Caldwell and Michael S.Y. Lee
Abstract: The inner ear morphology of 80 snake and lizard species, representative of a range of ecologies, is here analysed and compared to that of the fossil stem snake Dinilysia patagonica, using three-dimensional geometric morphometrics. Inner ear morphology is linked to phylogeny (we find here a strong phylogenetic signal in the data that can complicate ecological correlations), but also correlated with ecology, with Dinilysia resembling certain semi-fossorial forms (Xenopeltis and Cylindrophis), consistent with previous reports. We here also find striking resemblances between Dinilysia and some semi-aquatic snakes, such as Myron (Caenophidia, Homalopsidae). Therefore, the inner ear morphology of Dinilysia is consistent with semi-aquatic as well as semi-fossorial habits: the most similar forms are either semi-fossorial burrowers with a strong affinity to water (Xenopeltis and Cylindrophis) or amphibious, intertidal forms which shelter in burrows (Myron). Notably, Dinilysia does not cluster as closely with snakes with exclusively terrestrial or obligate burrowing habits (e.g. scolecophidians and uropeltids). Moreover, despite the above similarities, Dinilysia also occupies a totally unique morphospace, raising issues with linking it with any particular ecological category.
Keywords: Ecology; evolution; labyrinth; geometric morphometrics; principal components analysis; canonical variates analysis
Rights: © 2017 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
RMID: 0030075409
DOI: 10.1098/rsos.170685
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Appears in Collections:Ecology, Evolution and Landscape Science publications

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