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The role of morphology in evolutionary research


Stefan Richter, Allgemeine und Spezielle Zoologie, Universität Rostock, Germany

Morphology is mostly understood as the structure, form and pattern of  organisms, something organisms are characterized by, often used in the  alternatives morphological versus molecular data. Primarily, however,  morphology is a discipline in biology. Although morphology is often believed  to be restricted to the description of structures, or described as a 'purely  formal' discipline (Ghiselin 2006), morphology is in fact the science of form  and structure and includes analytical and synthetic processes for explaining  them (sensu Riedl 2000). Herein, we elaborate the various aspects of  morphology as a discipline, showing that morphology is a biological  discipline in its own right.