Testing the Taxonomy and Phylogeny of Eastern North American Atrypid Brachiopods: A Geometric Morphometric Approach

  • Rituparna Bose
Part of the Springer Theses book series (Springer Theses)


The phylogeny and taxonomy of atrypides as proposed in the past has not been tested in terms of morphometric shape. Here, we investigated external shell shape variation in brachiopod morphology at the subfamily and generic level using geometric morphometrics. We measured valve shape in 1593 atrypid individuals from Silurian-Devonian time intervals from 8 EE subunits from 18 geographic localities in eastern North America. The following representatives of the Atrypida were included in the morphometric analyses: Atrypa, Gotatrypa, Kyrtatrypa, Oglupes?, Joviatrypa, Endrea, Dihelictera (Atrypinae); Pseudoatrypa (Variatrypinae) and Spinatrypa (Spinatrypinae).We used 8 external landmarks to determine shape differences among genera and subfamilies in time and space and to calculate pairwise distances between them. Phylogenetic divergence time was determined between atrypid generic pairs based on the phylogenetic tree published in prior literature. Maximum-likelihood was used to assess evolutionary rate and mode of morphological divergence. Results indicate that morphological divergences among these genera are very small compared to their within-genus variation. Thus, while morphometric differentiation is concordant with phylogeny proposed in the past, the small shell shape distances between genera, considerable morphological overlap between subfamilies, considerable variation within one subfamily, and greater morphological variation within genus, suggest that other characteristics such as ribbing, growth lamellae, pedicle opening, etc. prove to be more useful for distinguishing genera in atrypid brachiopods. Thus, a combination of quantified shape, external and internal morphological characters is essential for future phylogenetic classification in order to understand the evolutionary ecology of these complex organisms in its entirety.


Middle Devonian Ventral Valve Dorsal Valve Geometric Morphometrics Shell Shape 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.City College of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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