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.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 102 • No. 1