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Rapid evolution of the primate larynx?

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posted on 2023-07-26, 15:04 authored by Daniel L. Bowling, Jacob Dunn, Jeroen B. Smaers, Maxime Garcia, Asha Sato, Georg Hantke, Stephan Handschuh, Sabine Dengg, Max Kerney, Andrew C. Kitchener, Michaela Gumpenberger, W. Tecumseh Fitch
Tissue vibrations in the larynx produce most sounds that comprise vocal communication in mammals. Larynx morphology is thus predicted to be a key target for selection, particularly in species with highly developed vocal communication systems. Here, we present a novel database of digitally modeled scanned larynges from 55 different mammalian species, representing a wide range of body sizes in the primate and carnivoran orders. Using phylogenetic comparative methods, we demonstrate that the primate larynx has evolved more rapidly than the carnivoran larynx, resulting in a pattern of larger size and increased deviation from expected allometry with body size. These results imply fundamental differences between primates and carnivorans in the balance of selective forces that constrain larynx size and highlight an evolutionary flexibility in primates that may help explain why we have developed complex and diverse uses of the vocal organ for communication.

History

Refereed

  • Yes

Volume

18

Issue number

8

Page range

e3000764

Publication title

PLOS Biology

ISSN

1545-7885

Publisher

Public Library of Science

File version

  • Published version

Language

  • eng

Legacy posted date

2020-08-13

Legacy creation date

2020-08-13

Legacy Faculty/School/Department

Faculty of Science & Engineering

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