Third upper molar enlargement in sigmodontine rodents (Cricetidae): morphological disparity and evolutionary convergence

Christophe Ronez 1 , Franck Barbière 2 , Luciano De Santis 3 ,  and Ulyses F.J. Pardiñas 4
  • 1 Instituto de Diversidad y Evolución Austral (IDEAus-CONICET), Boulevard Brown 2915, 9120 Puerto Madryn, Argentina
  • 2 Instituto Superior de Correlación Geológica (INSUGEO-CONICET), Av. Presidente Perón s/n, 4107 Yerba Buena, Argentina
  • 3 Cátedra de Anatomía Comparada, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo, 1900 La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 4 Instituto de Diversidad y Evolución Austral (IDEAus-CONICET), Puerto Madryn, Argentina and Associate Researcher, Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INABIO), Puerto Madryn, Argentina
Christophe Ronez
  • Corresponding author
  • Instituto de Diversidad y Evolución Austral (IDEAus-CONICET), Boulevard Brown 2915, 9120 Puerto Madryn, Argentina
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, Franck Barbière
  • Instituto Superior de Correlación Geológica (INSUGEO-CONICET), Av. Presidente Perón s/n, 4107 Yerba Buena, Tucumán, Argentina
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, Luciano De Santis
  • Cátedra de Anatomía Comparada, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo, 1900 La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina
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and Ulyses F.J. Pardiñas
  • Instituto de Diversidad y Evolución Austral (IDEAus-CONICET), Puerto Madryn, Argentina and Associate Researcher, Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INABIO), Puerto Madryn, Argentina
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Abstract

We studied the enlargement of the upper third molar (M3), with respect to the upper second molar in sigmodontine rodents, the largest subfamily of living cricetids. M3 is enlarged in extant and extinct members of at least six tribes (Andinomyini, Euneomyini, Oryzomyini, Phyllotini, Reithrodontini and Sigmodontini), all of them also sharing hypsodonty, planate crowns and overall dental simplification in the context of Sigmodontinae. Enlargement is expressed in four ways, including simplification or modest complication of occlusal design on a single plane. M3 enlargement in sigmodontines is primarily associated with increasing herbivory rather than strictly with phylogeny, and thus presents a classic example of evolutionary convergence.

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Mammalia is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the inventory, analysis and interpretation of Mammalian diversity. It publishes original results on all aspects of systematics (comparative, functional and evolutionary morphology; morphometrics; phylogeny; biogeography; taxonomy and nomenclature), biology, ecology and conservation of mammals.

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