Happy to share that our work on the evoluton of axial complexity in synapsids is out today in Nature Communications! Congratulations to Katrina Jones for spearheading this piece of research which shows that the complex morphology of the mammalian backbone evolved via stepwise evolution. Major 'leaps' in complexity appear to correlate with increases in aerobic capacity, first in cynodonts and then again in Northern placental mammals (Boreoeutheria).
The work was covered by the Harvard Gazette: A second look at evolution
And, Katrina wrote a really nice Nature Ecology & Evolution blog: Mammal backbones shine a light on the evolution of complexity
Jones, K.E., Angielczyk, K.D. and Pierce, S.E., 2019. Stepwise shifts underlie evolutionary trends in morphological complexity of the mammalian vertebral column. Nature communications, 10.