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Showing posts from July, 2012

Cat skull shape evolution across phylogeny and through time

I have a new paper out in PLoS ONE (coauthored with Marcello Ruta) on the variation and evolution of skull shape in extant and fossil felids. Below, I'll outline a few key points:


1) We analysed the relationships of some extinct sabre-toothed cats, and their interrelationships with modern conical-toothed cats and basal (ancestral) cats using maximum parsimony analyses in PAUP* and TNT.

Our results show that all sabre-toothed cats (Machairodontinae, including species with shorter canines, intermediate in form between conical- and sabre-like morphologies) are more closely related to each other than any of them are to modern conical-toothed cats (Felinae).


2) We quantified skull shape using traditional linear measurements (but adjusted for size, or isometric scaling) from over 300 cat skull specimens and:

A) We performed a linear discriminant analysis (LDA) to assess the ability of the linear morphometrics in distinguishing and correctly classifying group delimitations. For the taxonomic…