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The shapes of bird beaks are highly controlled by nondietary factors [PNAS]

Keywords : geometric morphometrics, integration, allometry, birds, modularity

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Bird beaks are textbook examples of ecological adaptation to diet, but their shapes are also controlled by genetic and developmental histories. To test the effects of these factors on the avian craniofacial skeleton, we conducted morphometric analyses on raptors, a polyphyletic group at the base of the landbird radiation. Despite common perception, we find that the beak is not an independently targeted module for selection. Instead, the beak and skull are highly integrated structures strongly regulated by size, with axes of shape change linked to the actions of recently identified regulatory genes.(...)

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