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Resurrecting Darwin’s Niata - anatomical, biomechanical, genetic, and morphometric studies of morphological novelty in cattle


Veitschegger, Kristof; Wilson, Laura A B; Nussberger, Beatrice; Camenisch, Glauco; Keller, Lukas F; Wroe, Stephen; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R (2018). Resurrecting Darwin’s Niata - anatomical, biomechanical, genetic, and morphometric studies of morphological novelty in cattle. Scientific Reports, 8:9129.

Abstract

The Niata was a cattle variety from South America that figured prominently in writings on evolution by Charles Darwin. Its shortened head and other aspects of its unusual morphology have been subject of unsettled discussions since Darwin’s time. Here, we examine the anatomy, cranial shape, skull biomechanics, and population genetics of the Niata. Our results show that the Niata was a viable variety of cattle and exhibited anatomical differences to known chondrodysplastic forms. In cranial shape and genetic analysis, the Niata occupies an isolated position clearly separated from other cattle.
Computational biomechanical model comparison reveals that the shorter face of the Niata resulted in a restricted distribution and lower magnitude of stress during biting. Morphological and genetic data illustrate the acquisition of novelty in the domestication process and confirm the distinct nature of the Niata cattle, validating Darwin’s view that it was a true breed.

Abstract

The Niata was a cattle variety from South America that figured prominently in writings on evolution by Charles Darwin. Its shortened head and other aspects of its unusual morphology have been subject of unsettled discussions since Darwin’s time. Here, we examine the anatomy, cranial shape, skull biomechanics, and population genetics of the Niata. Our results show that the Niata was a viable variety of cattle and exhibited anatomical differences to known chondrodysplastic forms. In cranial shape and genetic analysis, the Niata occupies an isolated position clearly separated from other cattle.
Computational biomechanical model comparison reveals that the shorter face of the Niata resulted in a restricted distribution and lower magnitude of stress during biting. Morphological and genetic data illustrate the acquisition of novelty in the domestication process and confirm the distinct nature of the Niata cattle, validating Darwin’s view that it was a true breed.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Language:English
Date:29 May 2018
Deposited On:19 Jun 2018 10:12
Last Modified:08 Apr 2020 23:43
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-27384-3

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