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Evolution and Development

Evolution of adaptive polymorphisms in African Seedcrackers

African Seedcracker, MicroCT scan We have a project on the beak shape evolution in the African black-bellied seedcrackers Pyrenestes ostrinus (Estrildidae), which provide a textbook example of adaptive polymorphism and disruptive selection. Here, rapid evolution of novel beak shapes is closely associated with corresponding changes in cranial musculature and we are interested in understanding mechanisms of such integration. This project is done in collaboration with Dr. Thomas Smith (UCLA), who pioneered work on the African seedcrackers. This project has been carried out by Dr. Celine Clabaut.