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Morphological variation of species through time
- MICHAUX, B.
- Biological journal of the Linnean Society 1989 v.38 no.3 pp. 239-255
- Gastropoda, climate, discriminant analysis, fossils, phenotype
- Ten measurements, taken from each of 700 shells or four biologically distinct shallow marine gastropod species, were used to define the appropriate phenotypes in multidimensional space. Canonical discriminant analysis was performed on the data and a set of allocatory rules was derived. These allocatory rules, derived from extant specimens, were than applied to 644 fossil specimens of three of these biological species. Fossil individuals occupy the appropriate phenotypic space as defined by their modern descendants. The variation of fossil sample means about the modern means is illustrated. This variation is in the form of oscillations around the modern mean values and is correlated with climate. The distinction between taxonomic and biological species is discussed. The results of a number of previous studies are re-examined in the light of this discussion. It is argued that biological groupings can only be reliably determined when the appropriate data are available for extant organisms. Extant organisms, which have good fossil records, should therefore form the basis of paleontological evolutionary studies.