Ruminant inner ear shape records 35 million years of neutral evolution

Bastien Mennecart, Laura Dziomber, Manuela Aiglstorfer, Faysal Bibi, Daniel DeMiguel, Masaki Fujita, Mugino O. Kubo, Flavie Laurens, Jin Meng, Grégoire Métais, Bert Müller, María Ríos, Gertrud E. Rössner, Israel M. Sánchez, Georg Schulz, Shiqi Wang, Loïc Costeur

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7 Citations (Scopus)
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Extrinsic and intrinsic factors impact diversity. On deep-time scales, the extrinsic impact of climate and geology are crucial, but poorly understood. Here, we use the inner ear morphology of ruminant artiodactyls to test for a deep-time correlation between a low adaptive anatomical structure and both extrinsic and intrinsic variables. We apply geometric morphometric analyses in a phylogenetic frame to X-ray computed tomographic data from 191 ruminant species. Contrasting results across ruminant clades show that neutral evolutionary processes over time may strongly influence the evolution of inner ear morphology. Extant, ecologically diversified clades increase their evolutionary rate with decreasing Cenozoic global temperatures. Evolutionary rate peaks with the colonization of new continents. Simultaneously, ecologically restricted clades show declining or unchanged rates. These results suggest that both climate and paleogeography produced heterogeneous environments, which likely facilitated Cervidae and Bovidae diversification and exemplifies the effect of extrinsic and intrinsic factors on evolution in ruminants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7222
Number of pages11
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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