Abstract

Previous studies have established a close relationship between the evolutionary origin of new clades of planktonic foraminifera and heterochrony. Studies of the Paleogene radiation of the genus Morozovella revealed, for example, a temporal pattern of variation consistent with paedomorphosis. Our study focused on the late Paleocene species of Acarinina, sister group of Morozovella. Shape variations related to evolution and ontogeny are appraised through a morphometric method based on outline analysis using the elliptic Fourier transform. Patterns of developmental and evolutionary changes are studied and compared within each species (Acarinina nitida, A. subsphaerica, and A. mckannai). As no congruence is found, we suggest that the evolutionary change observed within these species is not related to a heterochronic process. We also test for similarity of both evolutionary and ontogenetic changes among species. Although we observe no significant correlation between temporal patterns of shape change among species, the tight congruence of ontogenetic trajectories suggests that the developmental constraints affecting these trajectories have been preserved in spite of the evolutionary diversification of acarininids. Heterochrony is not clearly involved in the early Paleogene diversification of acarininids and therefore may not be as common as previously claimed. The role of developmental constraints in monitoring morphological evolution therefore needs to be reassessed.

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