Morphology and Disparity through Time


Disparity refers to the extent and statistical structure of the diversity of form among a set of taxa, measured in terms of a morphospace they co‐occupy. Disparity provides an important and distinct perspective on biodiversity, as shown by comparisons between taxonomic and morphological diversity histories of individual clades.

Keywords: biodiversity; phenetics; morphometrics; morphospace; homology

Figure 1.

Concordance and discordance among temporal patterns in taxonomic diversity and morphological disparity. The occupation of a bivariate morphospace is shown for all taxa of a given clade in consecutive time slices (a), (b), and (c) and also shown schematically in (d). Each dot represents one species; survivors into the next time slice are shown as large dots. (a,b) Taxonomically intense, morphologically nonselective extinction from time a to time b produces an increase in variance‐based disparity metrics but has little effect on range‐based disparity metrics. (b,c) Morphologically selective extinction from time b to time c produces massive reductions in variance‐based and range‐based disparity metrics.



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Further Reading

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How to Cite close
Kaplan, Peter(Mar 2004) Morphology and Disparity through Time. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001637]