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Uppsala, Sweden

Ostman O.,Norbyvagen | Stuart-Fox D.,University of Melbourne
Journal of Evolutionary Biology

Natural and sexual selection shape the evolution of species but the interplay between them is poorly understood. Two phylogenetic studies on birds have suggested that species with greater sexual dichromatism have a broader habitat use. We show that in agamid lizards, species with more elaborate secondary sexual traits are also ecologically more opportunistic. Species with greater dimorphism in head size and ornamentation have greater altitudinal range and broader habitat use, respectively, and species with greater sexual dichromatism have wider microhabitat use. Body size was positively associated with sexual and ecological generalism, but associations between ecological and sexual traits remained after accounting for body size. We suggest that sexual and natural selection may be linked either because sexual selection can promote generalism at the population level by favouring 'good genes', or because higher population densities may be associated with both stronger sexual selection and broader resource use. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2011 European Society For Evolutionary Biology. Source

Zigaite Z.,Norbyvagen | Zigaite Z.,University of Birmingham | Richter M.,Natural History Museum in London | Karatajute-Talimaa V.,Vilnius University | Smith M.M.,Kings College London
Historical Biology

Previously described scale morphotypes of Silurian thelodonts, constrained by their representation as isolated dermal denticles are reassessed to provide a more robust character basis for their inclusion in future phylogenetic studies. As relatively common microfossils, thelodonts are important biostratigraphical markers, but their interrelationships with geologically younger species known by complete skeletons are still unresolved. We examined scales of 21 known morphotypes from north-eastern Europe, Siberia and central Asia and described their distinct tissue arrangements considering (1) thickness and direction of dentine tubules, (2) presence or absence of a pulp canal, (3) number and position of pulp canals, (4) the presence or absence of a distinct outer crown layer and (5) the extent of Sharpey's fibres penetrating the scale base. We correlated the traditional thelodont scale type morphologies with these distinct scale histologies, as found in Silurian thelodonts. In addition, a new histological type for thelodont scales, the Talimaalepis type, is described to represent a new taxon, from the Early-Mid Silurian. Our study suggests that, through time, there is a general trend of increasing complexity in thelodont dermal tissue structures. Three types of dentine and internal scale organisations were distinguished in Silurian species studied, namely (1) irregular, thin tubular dentine; (2) irregular, thick tubular dentine, with two subtypes as a function of pulp canal development and (3) regular, tubular dentine (orthodentine). © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source

A new possible stem gnathostome, Kerreralepis carinata gen. et sp. nov., is described on the basis of a single specimen from the Lower Devonian of the island of Kerrera in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland. It is recognized as an anaspid by the chevron-like arranged rod-shaped scales on the trunk, gill openings extending behind the orbits in a slanting row and a series of median dorsal ridge scales. This specimen also has a series of median ventral plates, indicating the presence of a preanal fin-fold, which in turn has consequences for interpretations of other problematic stem gnathostomes and their phylogenetic context. A cladistic analysis supports a monophyletic Anaspida including the scale-covered birkeniids but excluding Lasanius as well as anaspid-like forms such as Euphanerops and Jamoytius. The establishment of a new genus and species increases the diversity of anaspids and allows for a more detailed study of anaspid interrelationships. An ingroup analysis using Lasanius as an outgroup resolves Birkenia as a rather basal anaspid, sister to all other anaspids, alternatively sister to a clade represented by the taxa from Ringerike, Norway, and the closely associated taxon from Saaremaa Island, Estonia. These topologies agree rather well with the present fossil record of anaspids. © The Palaeontological Association. Source

Zigaite Z.,Norbyvagen | Karatajute-Talimaa V.,Vilnius University | Goujet D.,CNRS Center for Research on Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments | Blom H.,Norbyvagen

Scales of six thelodont taxa are described from the Devonian of Spitsbergen. Numerous samples from localities widely dispersed on Spitsbergen yield several assemblages considered to represent different depositional phases of the late Lower lower Middle Devonian of the Andrée Land Group, but also support the view that certain lithostratigraphic units of the Andrée Land Group should be regarded as contemporaneous lithofacies subjected to different sedimentary environments, rather than as separate stratigraphic members. The description of Woodfjordia collisa gen. et sp. nov., Talivalia svalbardia sp. nov., Canonia cf. C. grossi, Amaltheolepis montiwatsonia sp. nov., Amaltheolepis winsnesi and Amaltheolepis austfjordia sp. nov. also allows for a comparison with similar faunas from other regions of the Northern Hemisphere and motivates further elaboration of Early-Middle Devonian thelodont biostratigraphy. © 2013 Copyright OPA (Overseas Publishers Association) N.V. Published by license under the Harwood Academic Publishers imprint, 2013. Source

Lundgren M.,Norbyvagen | Blom H.,Norbyvagen

The present analysis investigates for the first time the phylogenetic relationships of the cyathaspidid heterostracans by the principle of global parsimony on the basis of 36 species and 1 outgroup taxon. In this study, which assumes cyathaspidid monophyly, states for 61 characters were compiled and analysed using maximum parsimony methods, resulting in nine shortest trees of 122 steps each. The strict consensus tree shows a high degree of homoplasy and challenges previous classification schemes. The consensus topology supports previous arguments that the tolypelepids with their characteristic scale-like ornament occupy a basal position among the cyathaspidids. © 2013 Copyright OPA (Overseas Publishers Association) N.V. Published by license under the Harwood Academic Publishers imprint, 2013. Source

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