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Movement adds bite to the evolutionary morphology of mammalian teeth

P David Polly

Author Affiliations

Departments of Geological Sciences, Biology, and Anthropology, Indiana University, 1001 E. 10th Street, Bloomington, Indiana 47401, USA

BMC Biology 2012, 10:69  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-10-69

Published: 16 August 2012


Selection and constraints put limits on morphological evolution. Mammalian teeth are no exception, and the need for them to meet precisely exerts exacting constraints on a staggering array of developmental and functional factors that must be integrated to maintain their performance as they evolve. A study in BMC Evolutionary Biology demonstrates that mandibular movement is an important component of this integration, and one that should not be neglected in the quantitiative study of the evolution of tooth morphology.

See research article webcite

dental occlusion; evolutionary constraints; morphological integration; complexity; orientation patch counts