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Live bearing promotes the evolution of sociality in reptiles


Halliwell, B and Uller, T and Holland, BR and While, GM, Live bearing promotes the evolution of sociality in reptiles, Nature Communications, 8 Article 2030. ISSN 2041-1723 (2017) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41467-017-02220-w


Identifying factors responsible for the emergence and evolution of social complexity is an outstanding challenge in evolutionary biology. Here we report results from a phylogenetic comparative analysis of over 1000 species of squamate reptile, nearly 100 of which exhibit facultative forms of group living, including prolonged parent–offspring associations. We show that the evolution of social groupings among adults and juveniles is overwhelmingly preceded by the evolution of live birth across multiple independent origins of both traits. Furthermore, the results suggest that live bearing has facilitated the emergence of social groups that remain stable across years, similar to forms of sociality observed in other vertebrates. These results suggest that live bearing has been a fundamentally important precursor in the evolutionary origins of group living in the squamates.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:family, live bearing, sociality, parental care, lizards, snakes
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Phylogeny and comparative analysis
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Halliwell, B (Dr Benjamin Halliwell)
UTAS Author:Holland, BR (Professor Barbara Holland)
UTAS Author:While, GM (Associate Professor Geoff While)
ID Code:123025
Year Published:2017
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP150102900)
Web of Science® Times Cited:28
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2017-12-11
Last Modified:2018-05-09
Downloads:128 View Download Statistics

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