Evolutionary Biology

Volume 28 of the series Evolutionary Biology pp 39-86

The Evolution of Paired Fins and the Origin of Tetrapod Limbs

Phylogenetic and Transformational Approaches
  • Neil ShubinAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, University of Pennsylvania

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The analysis of limb origins touches on many central issues of evolutionary morphology. The origin of limbs is a major adaptive transformation, encompassing developmental, functional, and ecological modifications. Adaptive evolution of the structure and function of paired appendages involves the genetic modification of developmental processes. The study of this transformation, then, entails a synthesis of genetic, developmental, and functional approaches.