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Masayoshi Tokita
Harvard University
31Publications
15H-index
423Citations
Publications 31
Newest
#1Masayoshi Tokita (Harvard University)H-Index: 15
#2Wataru Yano (Asahi University)H-Index: 5
Last.Arhat Abzhanov (Harvard University)H-Index: 22
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Adaptive radiation is the rapid evolution of morphologically and ecologically diverse species from a single ancestor. The two classic examples of adaptive radiation are Darwin's finches and the Hawaiian honeycreepers, which evolved remarkable levels of adaptive cranial morphological variation. To gain new insights into the nature of their diversification, we performed comparative three-dimensional geometric morphometric analyses based on X-ray microcomputed tomography (µCT) scanning of dried cra...
Throughout the evolutionary history of life, only three vertebrate lineages took to the air by acquiring a body plan suitable for powered flight: birds, bats, and pterosaurs. Because pterosaurs were the earliest vertebrate lineage capable of powered flight and included the largest volant animal in the history of the earth, understanding how they evolved their flight apparatus, the wing, is an important issue in evolutionary biology. Herein, I speculate on the potential basis of pterosaur wing ev...
#2Zachary S. Morris (Harvard University)H-Index: 9
Last.Arhat Abzhanov (Imperial College London)H-Index: 22
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The avian beak is a key evolutionary innovation whose flexibility has permitted birds to diversify into a range of disparate ecological niches. We approached the problem of the mechanism behind this innovation using an approach bridging paleontology, comparative anatomy, and experimental developmental biology. First, we used fossil and extant data to show the beak is distinctive in consisting of fused premaxillae that are geometrically distinct from those of ancestral archosaurs. To elucidate un...
The striking diversity of bird beak shapes is an outcome of natural selection, yet the relative importance of the limitations imposed by the process of beak development on generating such variation is unclear. Untangling these factors requires mapping developmental mechanisms over a phylogeny far exceeding model systems studied thus far. We address this issue with a comparative morphometric analysis of beak shape in a diverse group of songbirds. Here we show that the dynamics of the proliferativ...
#1Thomas J. Sanger (Harvard University)H-Index: 16
#2Susan M. Seav (Harvard University)H-Index: 4
Last.Arhat Abzhanov (Harvard University)H-Index: 22
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Sexual dimorphisms vary widely among species. This variation must arise through sex-specific evolutionary modifications to developmental processes. Anolis lizards vary extensively in their expression of cranial dimorphism. Compared with other Anolis species, members of the carolinensis clade have evolved relatively high levels of cranial dimorphism; males of this clade have exceptionally long faces relative to conspecific females. Developmentally, this facial length dimorphism arises through an ...
#1Thomas J. Near (Yale University)H-Index: 46
#2Alex Dornburg (Yale University)H-Index: 19
Last.Matt Friedman (University of Oxford)H-Index: 30
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Understanding the history that underlies patterns of species richness across the Tree of Life requires an investigation of the mechanisms that not only generate young species-rich clades, but also those that maintain species-poor lineages over long stretches of evolutionary time. However, diversification dynamics that underlie ancient species-poor lineages are often hidden due to a lack of fossil evidence. Using information from the fossil record and time calibrated molecular phylogenies, we inv...
Vertebrates have succeeded to inhabit almost every ecological niche due in large part to the anatomical diversification of their jaw complex. As a component of the feeding apparatus, jaw muscles carry a vital role for determining the mode of feeding. Early patterning of the jaw muscles has been attributed to cranial neural crest-derived mesenchyme, however, much remains to be understood about the role of nonneural crest tissues in the evolution and diversification of jaw muscle morphology. In th...
#1Masayoshi Tokita (Harvard University)H-Index: 15
#2Win Chaeychomsri (Kasetsart University)H-Index: 7
Last.Jindawan Siruntawineti (Kasetsart University)H-Index: 7
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Reptiles have achieved highly diverse morphological and physiological traits that allow them to exploit various ecological niches and resources. Morphology of the temporal region of the reptilian skull is highly diverse and historically it has been treated as an important character for classifying reptiles and has helped us understand the ecology and physiology of each species. However, the developmental mechanism that generates diversity of reptilian skull morphology is poorly understood. We re...
#1Masayoshi Tokita (University of Tsukuba)H-Index: 15
#2Tomoki Nakayama (University of Tsukuba)H-Index: 1
Last.Kiyokazu Agata (Kyoto University)H-Index: 54
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Vertebrates have achieved great evolutionary success due in large part to the anatomical diversification of their jaw complex, which allows them to inhabit almost every ecological niche. While many studies have focused on mechanisms that pattern the jaw skeleton, much remains to be understood about the origins of novelty and diversity in the closely associated musculature. To address this issue, we focused on parrots, which have acquired two anatomically unique jaw muscles: the ethmomandibular a...
#1Masayoshi Tokita (University of Tsukuba)H-Index: 15
#2Win Chaeychomsri (Kasetsart University)H-Index: 7
Last.Jindawan Siruntawineti (Kasetsart University)H-Index: 7
view all 3 authors...
The tooth is a major component of the vertebrate feeding apparatus and plays a crucial role in species survival, thus subjecting tooth developmental programs to strong selective constraints. However, irrespective of their functional importance, teeth have been lost in multiple lineages of tetrapod vertebrates independently. To understand both the generality and the diversity of developmental mechanisms that cause tooth agenesis in tetrapods, we investigated expression patterns of a series of too...
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