Skip to main content Accessibility help

Size and shape in ontogeny and phylogeny

  • Pere Alberch (a1), Stephen Jay Gould (a2), George F. Oster (a3) and David B. Wake (a1)


We present a quantitative method for describing how heterochronic changes in ontogeny relate to phyletic trends. This is a step towards creating a unified view of developmental biology and evolutionary ecology in the study of morphological evolution. Using this representation, we obtain a greatly simplified and logical scheme of classification. We believe that this scheme will be particularly useful in studying the data of paleontology and comparative morphology and in the analysis of processes leading to adaptive radiation. We illustrate this scheme by examples drawn from the literature and our own work.



Hide All
Bard, J. B. L. 1977. A unity underlying the different zebra striping patterns. J. Zool., London. 183:527539.
Bertalanffy, L. von. 1960. Principles and theory of growth. Pp. 137260. In: Nowinski, W. W., ed. Fundamental Aspects of Normal and Malignant Growth. Elsevier Publ. Co.
Bonebrake, J. E. and Brandon, R. A. 1971. Ontogeny of cranial ossification in the small-mouthed salamander, Ambystoma texanum (Matthes). J. Morphol. 133:189204.
Bookstein, F. L. 1976. The study of shape transformations after D'Arcy Thompson. Mathematical Biosciences. 34:177219.
Bookstein, F. L. 1978. The measurement of biological shape and shape change. Lecture Notes in Biomathematics. 24:1191.
Chandebois, R. 1976. Cell sociology: a way of reconsidering the current concepts of morphogenesis. Acta Biotheoretica. 25:71102.
Cock, A. G. 1966. Genetical aspects of metrical growth and form in animals. Q. Rev. Biol. 41:131190.
DeBeer, G. 1958. Embryos and Ancestors. Third ed.197 pp. Clarendon Press; Oxford.
Ede, D. E. 1971. Control of form and pattern in the vertebrate limb. Symp. Soc. Exp. Biol. 25:235254.
Erdmann, K. 1933. Zur Entwicklung des knöchern Skelets von Triton und Rana unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Zeitfolge der Ossifikationen. Zeitschr. Anat. Ent. 101:566651.
Frazzetta, T. H. 1975. Complex adaptations in evolving populations. 267 pp. Sinauer; Sunderland, Mass.
Gould, S. J. 1966. Allometry and size in ontogeny and phylogeny. Biol. Rev. 41:587640.
Gould, S. J. 1968. Ontogeny and the explanation of form: an allometric analysis. In: Macurda, D. B., ed. Paleobiological Aspects of Growth and Development. Paleontol. Soc. Mem. 2:8198.
Gould, S. J. 1977. Ontogeny and Phylogeny. Harvard Univ. Press; Cambridge, Mass. 501 pp.
Hampé, A. 1959. Contribution à l'étude du développement et de la regulation des déficiences et des excédents dans la patte de l'embryon de poulet. Archs. Anat. Microsc. Morphol. Exp. 48:345478.
Kallman, K. D. and Schreibman, M. P. 1973. A sex-linked gene controlling gonadotrop differentiation and its significance in determining the age of sexual maturation and size of the platyfish, Xiphophorus maculatus. Gen. Comp. End. 21:287304.
Keller, R. 1946. Morphogenetische Untersuchungen am Skelett von Siredon mexicanus Shaw mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des Ossifikationsmodus beim neotenen Axolotl. Rev. Suisse Zool. 53:329426.
Kollar, E. J. 1972. The development of the integument: spatial, temporal, and phylogenetic factors. Am. Zool. 12:125135.
Laird, A. K. 1969. The dynamics of growth. Research/Development. 20:28.
Laird, A. K., Barton, A. D., and Tyler, S. A. 1968. Growth and time: an interpretation of allometry. Growth. 32:347354.
Lande, R. 1976. Natural selection and random genetic drift in phenotypic evolution. Evolution. 30:314334.
Lestrel, P. E. 1974. Some problems in the assessment of morphological size and shape differences. Yearbook of Phys. Anthropol. 18:140162.
Newell, N. D. 1949. Phyletic size increase, an important trend illustrated by fossil invertebrates. Evolution. 3:103124.
Oster, G. F. 1977. Lectures in population dynamics. In DiPrima, R., ed. Modern Modeling of Continuum Phenomena, Lectures in Applied Mathematics, Vol. 16. Am. Math. Soc., Providence; Rhode Island.
Oster, G. F. and Rocklin, S. 1979. Optimization models in evolutionary biology. Submitted.
Raikow, R. J. 1975. The evolutionary reappearance of ancestral muscles as developmental anomalies in two species of birds. Condor. 77:514517.
Slatkin, M. 1970. Selection and polygenic characters. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (U.S.A.) 66:8793.
Southwood, T. 1976. Bionomic strategies and population parameters. Pp. 2648. In: May, R., ed. Theoretical Ecology. W. B. Saunders; Philadelphia.
Stearns, S. C. 1976. Life-history tactics: a review of the ideas. Q. Rev. Biol. 51:347.
Stearns, S. C. 1977. The evolution of life history traits: a critique of the theory and a review of the data. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 8:145171.
Waddington, D. H. 1957. The Strategy of the Genes. Allen and Unwin; London. 262 pp.
Waddington, D. H. 1962. New Patterns in Genetics and Development. Columbia University Press: New York. 271 pp.
Wake, D. B. 1966. Comparative osteology and evolution of the lungless salamanders, family Plethodontidae. Mem. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 4:1111.
Wake, D. B. and Brame, A. H. 1969. Systematics and evolution of neotropical salamanders of the Bolitoglossa helmrichi group. Contrib. Sci. Nat. Hist. Mus. Los Angeles Co. 175:140.
Wessels, N. 1977. Tissue Interactions in Development. W. A. Benjamin, Inc. 267 pp.
Wilson, A. C., Carlson, S. S., and White, T. J. 1977. Biochemical Evolution. Ann. Rev. Biochem. 46:573639.


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed