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Journal Articles Biological Journal of the Linnean Society Year : 2024

Molar wear in house mice: insight into diet preferences at an ecological timescale?

Abstract

Abstract In molars without permanent eruption, wear deeply modifies the geometry of the crown. To test for a signature of diet on wear dynamics, the molar geometry was compared between commensal house mice, relying on an omnivorous-granivorous diet, and Sub-Antarctic relatives, characterized by a switch towards a more ‘predatory’ behaviour. Laboratory-bred offspring of commensal mice served as a reference by providing mice of known age. Molar geometry was quantified using dense 3D semi-landmark based descriptors of the whole molar row and the upper molar only. Laboratory offspring displayed a decreased rate of wear compared to their commensal relatives, due to reduced mastication in mice fed ad libitum. Sub-Antarctic mice displayed a similarly decreased rate of molar wear, in agreement with an optimization towards incisor biting to seize prey. Laboratory offspring and Sub-Antarctic mice were further characterized by straight molar rows, whereas in commensal mice, the erupting third molar deviated away from the longitudinal alignment with the other molars, due to masticatory loadings. Quantifying changes in molar geometry could thus contribute to trace subtle diet variations, and provide a direct insight into the constraints during mastication, shedding light on the functional role of adaptive changes in molar geometry.
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Dates and versions

hal-04466020 , version 1 (19-02-2024)

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Sabrina Renaud, Ronan Ledevin, Anne-Béatrice Dufour, Caroline Romestaing, Emilie Hardouin. Molar wear in house mice: insight into diet preferences at an ecological timescale?. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2024, 141 (2), pp.289-305. ⟨10.1093/biolinnean/blad091⟩. ⟨hal-04466020⟩
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