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[dinosaur] Raptor talon shape + pectoral and pelvic network-anatomy from fins to limbs (free pdfs)


Ben Creisler

Additional new papers with free pdfs:

Leah R. Tsang, Laura A. B. Wilson, Justin Ledogar, Stephen Wroe, Marie Attard & Gabriele Sansalone (2019)
Raptor talon shape and biomechanical performance are controlled by relative prey size but not by allometry.
Scientific Reports 9, Article number: 7076Â
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-43654-0

Free pdf:

Most birds of prey (raptors), rely heavily on their talons for capturing prey. However, the relationship between talon shape and the ability to take prey is poorly understood. In this study we investigate whether raptor talons have evolved primarily in response to adaptive pressures exerted by different dietary demands, or if talon morphology is largely constrained by allometric or phylogenetic factors. We focus on the hallux talon and include 21 species in total varying greatly in body mass and feeding ecology, ranging from active predation on relatively large prey to obligate scavenging. To quantify the variation in talon shape and biomechanical performance within a phylogenetic framework, we combined three dimensional (3D) geometric morphometrics, finite element modelling and phylogenetic comparative methods. Our results indicate that relative prey size plays a key role in shaping the raptorial talon. Species that hunt larger prey are characterised by both distinct talon shape and mechanical performance when compared to species that predate smaller prey, even when accounting for phylogeny. In contrast to previous results of skull-based analysis, allometry had no significant effect. In conclusion, we found that raptor talon evolution has been strongly influenced by relative prey size, but not allometry and, that talon shape and mechanical performance are good indicators of feeding ecology.


Borja Esteve-Altava, Stephanie E. Pierce, Julia L. Molnar, Peter Johnston, Rui Diogo and John R. Hutchinson (2019)
Evolutionary parallelisms of pectoral and pelvic network-anatomy from fins to limbs.
Science Advances 5(5): eaau7459
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau7459

Free pdf:

Lobe-fins transformed into limbs during the Devonian period, facilitating the water-to-land transition in tetrapods. We traced the evolution of well-articulated skeletons across the fins-to-limbs transition, using a network-based approach to quantify and compare topological features of fins and limbs. We show that the topological arrangement of bones in pectoral and pelvic appendages evolved in parallel during the fins-to-limbs transition, occupying overlapping regions of the morphospace, following a directional trend, and decreasing their disparity over time. We identify the presence of digits as the morphological novelty triggering topological changes that discriminated limbs from fins. The origin of digits caused an evolutionary shift toward appendages that were less densely and heterogeneously connected, but more assortative and modular. Disparity likewise decreased for both appendages, more markedly until a time concomitant with the earliest-known tetrapod tracks. Last, we rejected the presence of a pectoral-pelvic similarity bottleneck at the origin of tetrapods.


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