INCREASING THE NUMBER OF MODES OF LOCOMOTION

INTRODUCTION:

In order to survive, animals must be able to successfully navigate through their multifarious habitats, where environmental demands often require them to use different parts of their bodies to perform ecologically relevant tasks such as escaping predators or foraging for food.

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An animal’s entire form is comprised of many interacting, integrated, parts where one trait does not necessarily influence a single task. Redundancy between form and function occurs when multiple traits work together to accomplish one task. Multitasking occurs when a single trait influences the performance of many different tasks. However, animals often use multiple traits to perform many different tasks, a concept known as many-to-many mapping of form to function. This considers how redundancy, multitasking, and direct relationships can interact simultaneously. By quantifying the relationships between multiple traits and multiple tasks, we are able to understand the complexity of form-function relationships and predict how they might bias the ability for these traits to change in response to selection on performance.


THE MAIN QUESTION:

How will considering more modes of locomotion affect how traits are linked and their potential ability to change?


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