Facial Phenotype Limit

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Facial Phenotype Limit

Postby bertsteven12 » Nov 25 2017 10:37 am

Dear All, I'd like to ask about a phenotype topic that I've been pondering for a while.

To my knowledge, individuals of each species all have unique facial structure/trait variations (shape of nose, position of chin, distance between eyes etc) from humans to birds and fish etc. We humans don't seem to be reaching mathematical limit of uniqueness easily (maybe till the end of the world) considering huge variation and all possible combinations that define our facial structure/traits.

However some animal populations are way more larger than humans and each year they reproduce in large amounts. Considering their huge populations, is it possible for some species to reach their mathematical limit of having unique facial structure/trait variations therefore start repeating the exact same faces? For example can individuals of some fish species (sardines, sea breams etc) be already sharing exact same facial structure/trait as a result of reaching all posible facial structure/trait variation limit?

I believe there must be a mathematical limit in the number of unique facial variations taking into account all possible genetic and environmental factors, no matter this number is astronomically large.
Sorry, I am not expert in this subject therefore I tried to ask the question as clear as possible.

Thanks for your responses!
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Re: Facial Phenotype Limit

Postby 29yrsExperience » Dec 14 2017 2:00 pm

Well, this is hardly a technical question… but I think you need to consider what selective pressures there may or may not be for a species to have a great deal of variation in facial structure (or other visible trait). Animals with complex social interactions and relationships seem to benefit more from being able to recognize individual members of a group, pack, or herd (who’s the leader, who’s a bully, who’s easygoing). In a school of fish, I think they benefit from looking all the same, as a big crowd of identical-looking individuals, moving in unison, can be confusing to a predator. It makes it hard to pick out a target. At least that’s one of the theories I’ve seen presented. Hope this gives you some inspiration for further pondering.
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