, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 365-371
Date: 25 Sep 2010

Evolutionary-ecological analysis of trends in phenogenetic variation of homologous morphological structures: From populations to ecological series of species

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An evolutionary-ecological analysis of homologous variations in cranial morphological structures (phenes) has been performed at the level of populations and subspecies exposed to technogenic, climatic, and landscape-geographic changes in the environment, as well as with ecological series of 46 species and infraspecific forms differing in ecological specialization within the family Cricetidae. On this basis, consistent manifestations of phenogenetic variation have been revealed. Species with the same ecological specialization show parallel directional changes in the frequencies of homologous phenes and their individual combinations. These changes apparently have adaptive significance and result from rearrangements in the ancestral epigenetic system. It is shown that similar ecological requirements imposed by the environment historically lead to unidirectional transformations of homologous morphological structures in different species, which may account for high incidence of homoplasy as well as for the parallel and, in part, directional evolution of closely related taxa with similar ecological specialization.