Many of the primary groups of fishes currently recognized have been established through an iterative process of anatomical study and comparison of fishes that has spanned a time period approaching 500 years. In this paper we give a brief history of the systematic morphology of fishes, focusing on some of the individuals and their works from which we derive our own inspiration. We further discuss what is possible at this point in history in the anatomical study of fishes and speculate on the future of morphology used in the systematics of fishes. Beyond the collection of facts about the anatomy of fishes, morphology remains extremely relevant in the age of molecular data for at least three broad reasons: 1) new techniques for the preparation of specimens allow new data sources to be broadly compared; 2) past morphological analyses, as well as new ideas about interrelationships of fishes (based on both morphological and molecular data) provide rich sources of hypotheses to test with new morphological investigations; and 3) the use of morphological data is not limited to understanding phylogeny and evolution of fishes, but rather is of broad utility to understanding the general biology (including phenotypic adaptation, evolution, ecology, and conservation biology) of fishes. Although in some ways morphology struggles to compete with the lure of molecular data for systematic research, we see the anatomical study of fishes entering into a new and exciting phase of its history because of recent technological and methodological innovations. With each new advance of technology and with each new generation of researcher, systematic morphology becomes a new and vibrant science.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 103 • No. 4