The diversity of organismic form has evolved nonuniformly during the history of life. Quantitative morphological studies reveal profound changes in evolutionary rates corresponding with the generation of morphological disparity at low taxonomic diversity during the early radiation of many clades. These studies have also given insight into the relative importance of genomic and ecological factors in macroevolution, the selectivity of extinction, and other issues. Important progress has been made in the development of morphological spaces that can accommodate highly disparate forms, although this area still needs more attention. Other future directions include the relationship between morphological and ecological diversification, geographic patterns in morphological diversity, and the role of morphological disparity as a causal factor in macroevolution.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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