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Keywords:

  • allometry;
  • island evolution;
  • molar morphology;
  • morphometrics

An ecomorphological approach of mandible shape through Fourier analyses combined with a paleodietary analysis of dental microwear patterns is used to reconstruct the diet of the extinct endemic Canariomys bravoi Crusafont, Pairó & Petter, 1964 and Canariomys tamarani López-Martínez & López-Jurado, 1987. These two large rodents, respectively, lived on Tenerife and Gran Canaria, the central islands of the Canarian Archipelago. Mandible shape and dental microwear respectively inform us on the volume of vegetal matter and on the presence of grass in the diet. Both Canariomys, which are of similar size, possess relatively similar mandible outlines and microwear patterns. For each species, a diet based on plant materials except grass is the most likely. Such results chime with the similar environments offered by the islands in which the species lived. On the contrary, molar morphology suggests different feeding habits of the two Canariomys. Thus, this suggests a case of mosaic evolution between teeth and mandibles, as well as the likely sensitivity of mandible shape to a combination of ecological and allometric factors. These new data obtained from the fossil record underline the propensity of island endemic mammals to yield surprising examples of phenotypic evolution. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 28–40.