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Shape analysis plays an important role in many kinds of biological studies. A variety of biological processes produce differences in shape between individuals or their parts, such as disease or injury, ontogenetic development, adaptation to local geographic factors, or long-term evolutionary diversification. Differences in shape may signal different functional roles played by the same parts, different responses to the same selective pressures (or differences in the selective pressures themselves), as well as differences in processes of growth and morphogenesis. Shape analysis is one approach to understanding those diverse causes of variation and morphological transformation.
(Zelditch et al., 2004) Geometric Morphometrics for Biologists. Academics press.