Fabian Hollinetz

Master's Student


 About me

My master’s thesis is part of a bigger research project conducted by Philipp Mitteröcker and his group that uses geometric morphometrics to study the evolution and evolvability of the middle and inner ears of birds and mammals. In my work I am concerned with the evolution of inner ear shape within the ecologically and morphologically diverse Afrotherian clade. I collected landmark data (Fig. 1) from CT scans for over 40 different specimens within the Afrotheria superorder as well as mammalian species outside of it that fill similar ecological niches.

The geometric morphometric approach provides powerful multivariate statistical methods, which I will use to link patterns of ear shape to the phylogeny and ecology of the studied species. A special emphasis lies on the comparison of species within the Afrotherian clade to ecologically similar but distantly related analogues. Through this, I hope to gain a better understanding about the differences between ecological and phylogenetic influences on inner ear evolution.

Fig.1: Mean shape of all collected specimens