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Abstract

A recently published study on the development of the turtle shell(1) highlights the important role that development plays in the origin of evolutionary novelties(1). The evolution of the highly derived adult anatomy of turtles is a prime example of a macroevolutionary event triggered by changes in early embryonic development. Early ontogenetic deviation may cause patterns of morphological change that are not compatible with scenarios of gradualistic, stepwise transformation. BioEssays 23:987–991, 2001. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.