alexa A Major Reason to Study Muscle Anatomy: Myology as a Tool for Evolutionary, Developmental, and Systematic Biology
ISSN: 2329-6577

Biological Systems: Open Access
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Review Article

A Major Reason to Study Muscle Anatomy: Myology as a Tool for Evolutionary, Developmental, and Systematic Biology

Rui Diogo1*, Luke J Matthews2 and Bernard Wood3
1Department of Anatomy, Howard University College of Medicine, DC 20059, USA
2Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, MA 02138, USA
3Department of Anthropology, George Washington University, DC 20052, USA
*Corresponding Author : Rui Diogo
Department of Anatomy
Howard University College of Medicine
520 W St NW, Washington DC 20059, USA
Tel: 202-651-0439
Fax: 202-536-7839
E-mail: [email protected]
Received August 28, 2012; Accepted October 26, 2012; Published October 29, 2012
Citation: Diogo R, Matthews LJ, Wood B (2012) A Major Reason to Study Muscle Anatomy: Myology as a Tool for Evolutionary, Developmental, and Systematic Biology. Biol Syst Open Access 1:102. doi:10.4172/2329-6577.1000102
Copyright: © 2012 Diogo R, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
 

Abstract

Molecules are rapidly replacing morphology as the preferred source of evidence for generating phylogenetic hypotheses. Critics of morphology claim that most morphology-based characters are ambiguous, subjective and prone to homoplasy. In this paper we summarize the results of recent Bayesian and parsimony-based cladistic analyses of the gross muscle morphology of primates and of other animals that show that morphological evidence such as muscle-based data is as capable of recovering phylogenies as are molecular data. We also suggest that recent investigations of neural crest cells and muscle connectivity might help to explain why muscles provide particularly useful characters for inferring phylogenies. Lastly, we show how the inclusion of soft tissue-based information in phylogenetic investigations allows researchers to address evolutionary questions that are not tractable using molecular evidence alone, including questions about the evolution of our closest living relatives and of our own clade.

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