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Keywords:

  • Asia;
  • deer;
  • evolution;
  • morphometrics;
  • palaeoenvironment;
  • Cervidae

Abstract

Two hundred and fourteen skulls of Asian deer species (Cervini) were measured and the resulting craniometric data analysed using multivariate statistics. Our results suggest that elements of skull shape as determined by morphometrics can be used as phylogenetic characters and depict phylogenetic relationships among Cervini deer species that is not far removed from the picture given by molecular studies and other characters. Morphometrics-based phylogeny was used in combination with other phylogenies and palaeoenvironmental reconstructions to investigate factors that may have influenced evolutionary changes. Our data indicate the need for a revision of the genus and subgenus level taxonomy of the Cervini.