Patterns of divergence in the morphology of ceratopsian dinosaurs: sympatry is not a driver of ornament evolution.
Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B
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Establishing the origin and function of unusual traits in fossil taxa provides a crucial tool in understanding macroevolutionary patterns over long periods of time. Ceratopsian dinosaurs are known for their exaggerated and often elaborate horns and frills, which vary considerably between species. Many explanations have been proposed for the origin and evolution of these ‘ornamental’ traits, from predator defence to socio-sexual dominance signalling and, more recently, species recognition. A key prediction of the species recognition hypothesis is that two or more species possessing divergent ornamental traits should have been at least partially sympatric. For the first time to our knowledge, we test this hypothesis in ceratopsians by conducting a comparison of the morphological characters of 46 species. A total of 350 ceratopsian cladistic characters were categorized as either ‘internal’, ‘display’ (i.e. ornamental) or ‘non display’. Patterns of diversity of these characters were evaluated across 1035 unique species pairs. Display characters were found to diverge rapidly overall, but sympatric species were not found to differ significantly in their ornamental disparity from non-sympatric species, regardless of phylogenetic distance. The prediction of the species recognition hypothesis, and thus the idea that ornamentation evolved as a species recognition mechanism, has no statistical support among known ceratopsians.
AuthorsKNAPP, A; KNELL, R; Farke, A; Loewen, M; HONE, DWE
- Organismal Biology