The structure, sizes, and shapes of amphibians and reptiles almost defy imagination; their morphology has long been investigated. However, attitudes about the nature of the contribution of morphology to herpetology and to science in general have changed as research has become more specialized and as new tools, techniques, and theories have been developed. Now, as integration of specialties is of interest to answer complex questions in biology, the contribution of morphology is being clarified. I explore the practice of herpetological morphology over time, with emphasis on research on caecilians, highlighting many of the changes and advances that have occurred. From its beginnings in ancient Greece to current investigations in such areas as systematics, “evo-devo,” and biomechanics, morphology has been highly relevant to understanding biology, and the discipline continues to make major contributions.
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Vol. 46 • No. 3