Fossils, Phylogeny, and Form

Volume 19 of the series Topics in Geobiology pp 197-233

Landmarks, Localization, and the Use of Morphometrics in Phylogenetic Analysis

  • Norman MacLeodAffiliated withDepartment of Palaeontology, The Natural History Museum

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Morphometries is the quantitative study of patterns of covariance with shape (Bookstein 1991). Since many morphological attributes of biological form are obviously reflections of evolutionary processes (e.g., Darwin 1859; Simpson 1944; Mayr 1963), and since assessments of patterns of morphological variation have been used traditionally to infer phylogenetic relations (e.g., Hennig 1966; Eldredge and Cracraft 1980; Mayr and Ashlock 1991) it would seem be natural to assume that morphometric analyses would play a large role in phylogenetic studies. This has not, however, been the case.