This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ PrePrints) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
It is important to quantify patterns of morphological diversity to enhance our understanding of variation in ecological and evolutionary traits. Here, we present a quantitative analysis of morphological diversity in a family of small mammals, the tenrecs (Afrosoricida, Tenrecidae). Tenrecs are often cited as an example of an exceptionally morphologically diverse group. However, this assumption has not been tested quantitatively. We use geometric morphometric analyses of skull shape to test whether tenrecs are more morphologically diverse than their closest relatives, the golden moles (Afrosoricida, Chrysochloridae). Tenrecs occupy a wider range of ecological niches than golden moles so we predict that they will be more morphologically diverse. Contrary to our expectations, we find that tenrec skulls are only more morphologically diverse than golden moles when measured in lateral view. Furthermore, similarities among the species-rich Microgale tenrec genus appear to mask higher morphological diversity in the rest of the family. These results reveal new insights into the morphological diversity of tenrecs and highlight the importance of using quantitative methods to test qualitative assumptions about patterns of morphological diversity.
This is an updated version to reflect comments from reviews. Minor changes have been made throughout.
"Following" is like subscribing to any updates related to a preprint.
These updates will appear in your home dashboard each time you visit PeerJ.
You can also choose to receive updates via daily or weekly email digests.
If you are following multiple preprints then we will send you
no more than one email per day or week based on your preferences.
Note: You are now also subscribed to the subject areas of this preprint
and will receive updates in the daily or weekly email digests if turned on.
You can add specific subject areas through your profile settings.