Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Cranial fenestration and adaptive potential in the two basal clades of modern birds
    Gussekloo, S.W.S. ; Berthaume, M.A. ; Pulaski, D.R. ; Westbroek, I. ; Waarsing, J.H. ; Heinen, R. ; Grosse, I.R. ; Dumont, E.R. - \ 2017
    Data from: Functional and evolutionary consequences of cranial fenestration in birds
    Gussekloo, S.W.S. ; Berthaume, Michael A. ; Pulaski, Daniel R. ; Westbroek, Irene ; Waarsing, Jan H. ; Heinen, R. ; Grosse, Ian R. ; Dumont, Elizabeth R. - \ 2017
    Wageningen University & Research
    avian evolution - cranial morphology - fenestration - finite element modelling - adaptive radiation
    Ostrich-like birds (Palaeognathae) show very little taxonomic diversity while their sister taxon (Neognathae) contains roughly 10000 species. The main anatomical differences between the two taxa are in the crania. Palaeognaths lack an element in the bill called the lateral bar that is present in both ancestral theropods and modern neognaths, have thin zones in the bones of the bill, and robust bony elements on the ventral surface of their crania. Here we use a combination of modelling and developmental experiments to investigate the processes that might have led to these differences. Engineering-based finite element analyses indicate that removing the lateral bars from a neognath increases mechanical stress in the upper bill and the ventral elements of the skull, regions that are either more robust or more flexible in palaeognaths. Surgically removing the lateral bar from neognath hatchlings led to similar changes. These results indicate that the lateral bar is load-bearing and suggest that this function was transferred to other bony elements when it was lost in palaeognaths. It is possible that the loss of the load-bearing lateral bar might have constrained diversification of skull morphology in palaeognaths and thus limited taxonomic diversity within the group.
    Functional and evolutionary consequences of cranial fenestration in birds
    Gussekloo, Sander W.S. ; Berthaume, Michael A. ; Pulaski, Daniel R. ; Westbroek, Irene ; Waarsing, Jan H. ; Heinen, Robin ; Grosse, Ian R. ; Dumont, Elizabeth R. - \ 2017
    Evolution 71 (2017)5. - ISSN 0014-3820 - p. 1327 - 1338.
    Adaptive radiation - Avian evolution - Cranial morphology - Fenestration - Finite element modeling
    Ostrich-like birds (Palaeognathae) show very little taxonomic diversity while their sister taxon (Neognathae) contains roughly 10,000 species. The main anatomical differences between the two taxa are in the crania. Palaeognaths lack an element in the bill called the lateral bar that is present in both ancestral theropods and modern neognaths, and have thin zones in the bones of the bill, and robust bony elements on the ventral surface of their crania. Here we use a combination of modeling and developmental experiments to investigate the processes that might have led to these differences. Engineering-based finite element analyses indicate that removing the lateral bars from a neognath increases mechanical stress in the upper bill and the ventral elements of the skull, regions that are either more robust or more flexible in palaeognaths. Surgically removing the lateral bar from neognath hatchlings led to similar changes. These results indicate that the lateral bar is load-bearing and suggest that this function was transferred to other bony elements when it was lost in palaeognaths. It is possible that the loss of the load-bearing lateral bar might have constrained diversification of skull morphology in palaeognaths and thus limited taxonomic diversity within the group.
    Finite element modeling suggests functional divergence in the skulls of palaeognathous and neognathous birds
    Gussekloo, S.W.S. ; Grosse, I.R. ; Berthaume, M. ; Dumont, E.R. - \ 2012
    In: Proceedings of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, 03-07 January 2012, Charleston, South Carolina. - - p. E256 - E256.
    The basal bifurcation in the phylogeny of modern birds is between ostrich-like birds (ratites and tinamous; Palaeognathae) and all other birds (Neognathae). Most differences between the Palaeognathae and Neognathae lie in the reduction or loss of the ability to fly, but the crania of palaeognaths are also more robust and more fenestrated than those of neognathous birds. The specific morphology of the palaeognath cranium has been attributed to neoteny, but recent studies suggest that it must have functional significance. Within the avialan lineage the cranium becomes increasingly fenestrated leading to a reduced number of lateral elements. This trend is more pronounced in palaeognaths than in neognaths. To test how fenestration affects cranial function, we made a finite element model of a neognath (chicken) skull and in two analyses applied experimentally validated forces and displacements to it. We then removed the lateral bars, which are lacking in palaeognaths, and applied the same forces and movements. When the lateral bars were present, we found lower stress concentrations in the maxilla during beak opening, suggesting that lateral bars serve to reinforce the beak. The presence of the lateral bars during beak closing also appears to reinforce cranium as well as increase in beak reaction (bite) force. These results suggest that differences in the degree of fenestration in the skulls of palaeognathous and neognathous birds have functional consequences that may have played a role in the divergence of the two lineages.
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