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7 April 2021 Carnivoran intraspecific tooth-size variation shows heterogeneity along the tooth row and among species
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Developing morphological diagnoses for fossil mammals requires an understanding of intraspecific variation in the anatomical elements under study. Dental traits along with tooth size can be informative of taxonomic identify for extinct species. However, it is unclear what selective or developmental processes are responsible for documented patterns in tooth-size variation making application to the fossil record difficult. We assessed combined species tooth-type variation and intraspecific tooth-size variation for 19 species to evaluate whether developmental controls or occlusion-driven functional demands influence carnivoran tooth-size variation. We also estimated phylogenetic signal for the coefficient of variation (CV). Combined species tooth-size variation separated by tooth type shows that canines are more variable than molars and lower premolars. We found intraspecific tooth-size variation patterns differ between species. However, comparisons of the CVs did not support the hypotheses that developmental controls or functional demands of occlusion constrain size variation in mammal teeth. Our results suggest that a combination of factors influence carnivoran tooth-size variation, such as differences in ontogeny, diet, sexual dimorphism, and evolutionary history. Patterns of carnivoran intraspecific tooth-size variation suggest a better understanding of dental size variation in extant species is essential for accurate morphological studies of fossil taxa.

© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Mammalogists,
Dana M. Reuter, Samantha S. B. Hopkins, and Edward B. Davis "Carnivoran intraspecific tooth-size variation shows heterogeneity along the tooth row and among species," Journal of Mammalogy 102(1), 236-249, (7 April 2021).
Received: 17 January 2019; Accepted: 14 November 2020; Published: 7 April 2021

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