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Abstract

Quantitative lateral and dorsoventral cineradiography shows that the masticatory movements of the mandible, condyles, tongue, and hyoid of Pteropus giganteus (Chiroptera) move along highly regular paths that are characteristic for each of the three food types tested.

Mandibular movements are predominantly orthal, although a small forward translation occurs early in opening and small lateral deflections occur in both opening and closing phases. These deflections are related to the existence of active (bolus bearing) and balancing sides of the jaws, chewing being not truly bilateral. The deflections are associated with a shift of both condyles toward one side. In consequence the active condyle is located in a lateral part of the associated fossa, the inactive condyle in a medial part. Food transfer from side to side involves a reversal of the chewing direction during opening. Such reversals are especially frequent near the end of a chewing sequence.

The fore, middle, and hind parts of the tongue differ in their movement patterns. Movements of the fore part, and to a lesser extent of the middle part, follow the open-close movements of the lower jaw. The hind part of the tongue moves predominantly dorsally during slow closing and ventrally during fast opening and fast closing. All three parts move forward during slow closing and slow opening, and backward during fast opening and fast closing. Movements of the hyoid are closely synchronized with those of the hind part of the tongue. Furthermore, tongue and hyoid movements are synchronized with jaw movements. All cycles of Pteropus giganteus are transport cycles, and the synchrony appears to reflect the consistency of the food (soft pulp, juices). Food consistency also accounts for the high swallowing rate and the absence of any significant difference between nonswallowing and swallowing cycles.