A PeerJ Life and Environment Special Issue highlighting the latest research focusing on the variability and evolution of early vertebrates
Special Issue Editors:
Graciela Piñeiro, Adjunct Professor, Universidad de la República
Michel Laurin, CNRS Senior Research Scientist, CR2P, CNRS/MNHN/UPMC
Pablo Nuñez Demarco, Assistant Professor, Universidad de la República
In Paleontology, several iconic taxa are represented by many specimens, but their low-level systematics remains poorly understood or controversial; recent examples that have been investigated include mesosaurs and sphenacodontids, but also iconic taxa such as Ichthyosaurus and Tyrannosaurus.
Morphometrics is useful to quantify variability and potentially, to assess the influence of ontogenetic, ecological and environmental factors (which leave indirect clues in the fossil record). These produce intraspecific variability that can be mistaken for taxonomically significant variation. Recent contributions in this field have demonstrated how the application of morphometrics can be relevant to evolutionary studies of problematic taxa, highlighting and encouraging the development of this kind of interdisciplinary study. Stratigraphic analysis allows specimens to be arranged in time to record chronological changes, while revisions and redescriptions clarify the status of various materials, identifying weak points in the descriptions and raising new questions.
This Special Issue will contain papers that focus on the variability and evolution of early vertebrates, especially for taxa that are well-represented in the fossil record but include specimens that are poorly preserved, which hampers definition of diagnostic characters. We encourage submissions of primary research papers, especially those on the taxonomic variability in ancient (Paleozoic and Mesozoic) vertebrate clades, focusing on methodologies such as morphometrics, stratigraphic and/or comparative analyses, as well as taxonomic revisions or redescriptions.
This Special Issue will be among the first compilations of novel data for determining the presence and origin of morphological, ontogenetic and evolutionary variability in a wide range of vertebrate taxa, which can be reproduced in future contributions.
For more information and to submit your abstract, please visit: https://peerj.com/special-issues/109-morphometrics