Journal of Mammalian Evolution

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 239–248 | Cite as

Evolutionary Divergence and Convergence in Shape and Size Within African Antelope Proximal Phalanges

  • Julien Louys
  • Shaena Montanari
  • Thomas Plummer
  • Fritz Hertel
  • Laura C. Bishop
Original Paper


Morphological convergence amongst species inhabiting similar environments but having different evolutionary histories is a concept central to evolutionary biology. Cases of divergent evolution, where there is morphological divergence between closely related species exploiting different environments, are less well studied. Here we show divergent evolution in the morphology of the proximal phalanges of several closely related African antelope species inhabiting different environments. This morphological divergence was consistently observed in both a neutral morphospace and an externally ordinated morphospace. Divergence, but not convergence, was also observed when size and shape were considered independently. Finally, convergent evolution of the morphology of the proximal phalanges was observed, but only in the externally ordinated morphospace. Size shows less correlation with phylogeny than does shape. Therefore, we suggest that divergence in size will occur more readily when a species encounters new environmental conditions than divergence in shape. These findings are compatible with observations of rapid dwarfing on islands (Foster’s rule).


Ecomorphology Phalanges Convergent evolution Divergent evolution 



We thank E. Westwig (AMNH), L. Gordon (NMNH), and the NHML for their curatorial assistance; JL and LCB acknowledge the support of The Leverhulme Trust (FC00754C); TP acknowledges support from the Professional Staff Congress-City University of New York Research Award Program; FH acknowledges the CSUN Office of Research and Sponsored Projects.

Supplementary material

10914_2012_9211_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (25 kb)
Supplementary information (XLSX 24 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julien Louys
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shaena Montanari
    • 3
  • Thomas Plummer
    • 4
  • Fritz Hertel
    • 5
  • Laura C. Bishop
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology, School of Natural Sciences and PsychologyLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.School of Earth SciencesThe University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia
  3. 3.Richard Gilder Graduate School, American Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of AnthropologyQueens College, CUNY and NYCEPFlushingUSA
  5. 5.Department of BiologyCalifornia State UniversityNorthridgeUSA

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