• dog;
  • masseter;
  • temporalis;
  • zygomaticomandibularis;
  • masseteric nerve;
  • deep temporal nerve;
  • comparative anatomy


The aim of this study was to clarify the nerve distribution of the masseter, temporalis, and zygomaticomandibularis (ZM) muscles to elucidate the phylogenetic traits of canine mastication. A detailed dissection was made of 15 hemisectioned heads of adult beagle dogs. The innervations of the masticatory nerve twigs exhibited a characteristic pattern and were classified into seven groups. Twig innervating the anterior portion of the temporalis (aTM) was defined as the anterior temporal nerve (ATN). Anterior twig of ATN branched from the buccal nerve and innervated only the aTM, whereas posterior twig of ATN innervated both of the aTM and deep layer of the tempolaris (dTM). From this and morphological observations, it was proposed that the action of the canine aTM is more independent than that of the human. The middle temporal nerve ran superoposteriorly within the dTM and superficial layer of the temporalis (sTM) innervating both of them, whereas the posterior temporal nerve innervated only the posterior region of the sTM. The masseteric nerve (MSN) innervated the ZM and the three layers of the masseter. Deep twig of MSN was also observed innervating sTM after entering the ZM in all cases. The major role played by the canine ZM might thus underlie the differential arrangement of the distribution of the masticatory nerve bundles in dogs and humans. Although the patterns of innervation to the canine and human masticatory muscles were somewhat similar, there were some differences that might be due to evolutionary adaptation to their respective feeding styles. Anat Rec, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.