Determining whether morphological trends in fossil species represent evolution within a lineage or lateral shifts in morphologically variable populations through time requires a thorough examination of the details of both morphology and paleoenvironment in time and space. The purpose of this study is to explore at high resolution the relationship between morphology of the trilobite Flexicalymene granulosa and paleoenvironmental conditions in Upper Ordovician deposits of southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky. This is achieved by using geometric morphometrics to measure high-resolution morphological changes and by using gradient analysis to capture environmental gradients underlying faunal distribution patterns. Quantitatively comparing the outcomes of these two techniques provides an assessment of whether shape changes relates to environment. Results indicate that a significant amount of shape change, seen as an anteromedial movement of the eye region over time, corresponds to ordination scores. This suggests a relationship between certain aspects of morphology and environment. The combination of these quantitative techniques has provided the foundation for determining whether morphological trends within F. granulosa represent evolution or temporal shifts in geographic variation. Future work will involve examining this relationship in greater detail both geographically and stratigraphically.
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Vol. 61 • No. 6