In a new paper in PLoS One, UMMP Research Scientist Janice Pappas and UMMP Invertebrate Collections Manager Dan Miller present a new method for quantifying surface morphology in three dimensions. Three-dimensional (3D) surface morphology can serve as a proxy for phenotype, which can be used in a variety of evolutionary analyses. Using this approach, organisms with disparate morphologies, sizes, and taxonomic affinities (e.g., molluscs and echinoderms) can be analyzed in a common morphospace. The modeling approach also can be used to simulate theoretical forms as well as realistic forms, based on measurements of actual taxa and using reverse engineering principles. The flexibility of the approach allows for using 3D models in conjunction with other geometric methods to evaluate morphospace occupation, patterns of ontogeny, as well as function and evolution of biological structures, evolution of morphological novelty, and patterns of morphological evolution more broadly.