Developmental strategies underlying gigantism and miniaturization in non-avialan theropod dinosaurs.


Patrick M. O'Connor, Riley s. Sombathy, Ignacio Cerda, Thomas R. Pascucci, David Varricchio, Diego Pol, Anjali Dave, Rodolfo A. Coria, Kristina A. Curry Rogers




In amniotes, the predominant developmental strategy underlying body size evolution is thought to be adjustments to the rate of growth rather than its duration. However, most theoretical and experimental studies supporting this axiom focus on pairwise comparisons and/or lack an explicit phylogenetic framework. We present the first large-scale phylogenetic comparative analysis examining developmental strategies underlying the evolution of body size, focusing on non-avialan theropod dinosaurs. We reconstruct ancestral states of growth rate and body mass in a taxonomically rich dataset, finding that contrary to expectations, changes in the rate and duration of growth played nearly equal roles in the evolution of the vast body size disparity present in non-avialan theropods—and perhaps that of amniotes in general.



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