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Re: Lepidosaur cuteness factor?
Two of the examples have adults with orbits longer than rostra. In the
third rough proportions do not significantly change. Sure the adults
have horns, dorsal frills, etc. Shapes square off abit.
It is as I said: all the above is true, yet still the juveniles are always
cuter than the adults of the same species (bigger and rounder eyes, smaller
snouts). Hey, even for us it applies, even though we have shorter faces at
any point in life than any lepidosaur hatchling.
In short, there's nothing wrong with using skull proportions for
phylogeny -- _but only if_ all OTUs are at the _same_ ontogenetic stage
(which is probably impossible to test unless all are adult). So when you
have potentially ontogeny-related characters in your matrix, code all
suspected juveniles or subadults as "?" for them, or the cladogram will be
garbage. (Perhaps just a few bootstrap values will be somewhat off, but
perhaps the entire topology will be artificial. It can even occur that
totally wrong clades will have high bootstrap support -- Chippindale et al.
in a recent Systematic Biology issue, title begins with "Ontogeny
Discombobulates Phylogeny:", using the real example of metamorphosing and
Even in Pterodaustro the rostrum lengthens proportionately
Hard to avoid.