[MARMAM] Publication announcement: 3D genital shape complexity in female marine mammals

Dara Orbach dnorbach at gmail.com
Fri Mar 12 09:11:40 PST 2021


Dear colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the recent publication of our
open access article in the journal Ecology and Evolution on 3D genital
shape complexity in female marine mammals:

Orbach DN, Brassey CA, Gardiner JD, Brennan PLR. 3D genital shape
complexity in
female marine mammals. Ecol Evol. 2021;00:1–9.
https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7269

ABSTRACT:
Comparisons of 3D shapes have recently been applied to diverse anatomical
structures
using landmarking techniques. However, discerning evolutionary patterns can
be challenging for structures lacking homologous landmarks. We used alpha
shape
analyses to quantify vaginal shape complexity in 40 marine mammal specimens
including cetaceans, pinnipeds, and sirenians. We explored phylogenetic
signal and the
potential roles of natural and sexual selection on vaginal shape evolution.
Complexity
scores were consistent with qualitative observations. Cetaceans had a broad
range
of alpha complexities, while pinnipeds were comparatively simple and
sirenians were
complex. Intraspecific variation was found. Three-dimensional surface heat
maps
revealed that shape complexity was driven by invaginations and protrusions
of the
vaginal wall. Phylogenetic signal was weak and metrics of natural selection
(relative
neonate size) and sexual selection (relative testes size, sexual size
dimorphism, and
penis morphology) did not explain vaginal complexity patterns. Additional
metrics,
such as penile shape complexity, may yield interesting insights into marine
mammal
genital coevolution. We advocate for the use of alpha shapes to discern
patterns of
evolution that would otherwise not be possible in 3D anatomical structures
lacking
homologous landmarks.

Please, do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions about the
article (dnorbach at gmail.com).

Cheers,
Dara Orbach, PhD
Assistant Professor of Marine Biology
Department of Life Sciences
Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi

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