Interspecific analysis of covariance structure in the masticatory apparatus of galagos


  • Christopher J. Vinyard

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    1. Department of Anatomy, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, Rootstown, Ohio, USA
    • Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, 4209 St., Rt. 44, P.O. Box 95, Rootstown, OH 44272-0095
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The primate masticatory apparatus (MA) is a functionally integrated set of features, each of which performs important functions in biting, ingestive, and chewing behaviors. A comparison of morphological covariance structure among species for these MA features will help us to further understand the evolutionary history of this region. In this exploratory analysis, the covariance structure of the MA is compared across seven galago species to investigate 1) whether there are differences in covariance structure in this region, and 2) if so, how has this covariation changed with respect to size, MA form, diet, and/or phylogeny? Ten measurements of the MA functionally related to bite force production and load resistance were obtained from 218 adults of seven galago species. Correlation matrices were generated for these 10 dimensions and compared among species via matrix correlations and Mantel tests. Subsequently, pairwise covariance disparity in the MA was estimated as a measure of difference in covariance structure between species. Covariance disparity estimates were correlated with pairwise distances related to differences in body size, MA size and shape, genetic distance (based on cytochrome-b sequences) and percentage of dietary foods to determine whether one or more of these factors is linked to differences in covariance structure. Galagos differ in MA covariance structure. Body size appears to be a major factor correlated with differences in covariance structure among galagos. The largest galago species, Otolemur crassicaudatus, exhibits large differences in body mass and covariance structure relative to other galagos, and thus plays a primary role in creating this association. MA size and shape do not correlate with covariance structure when body mass is held constant. Diet also shows no association. Genetic distance is significantly negatively correlated with covariance disparity when body mass is held constant, but this correlation appears to be a function of the small body size and large genetic distance for Galagoides demidoff. These exploratory results indicate that changing body size may have been a key factor in the evolution of the galago MA. Am. J. Primatol. 69:46–58, 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.