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Mandible morphology, dental microwear, and diet of the extinct giant rats Canariomys (Rodentia: Murinae) of the Canary Islands (Spain)

Authors

  • CYRIL FIRMAT,

    Corresponding author
    1. UMR-CNRS 5561, Biogéosciences, Université de Bourgogne, 6 Boulevard Gabriel, F-21000 Dijon, France
    2. Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR-CNRS 5554, cc 064, Université Montpellier II, Place Eugène Bataillon, F-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
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  • HELDER GOMES RODRIGUES,

    1. Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR-CNRS 5554, cc 064, Université Montpellier II, Place Eugène Bataillon, F-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
    2. Team ‘Evo-Devo of Vertebrate Dentition’, Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon, Université de Lyon, UMR 5242 CNRS INRA UCBL ENS, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, 46 Allée d'Italie, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France
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  • SABRINA RENAUD,

    1. Paleoenvironnements et Paléobiosphère, UMR 5125 CNRS, Université Lyon 1, Bât. Géode, 2 rue Dubois, Campus de la Doua, 69622 Villeurbanne, France
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  • JULIEN CLAUDE,

    1. Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR-CNRS 5554, cc 064, Université Montpellier II, Place Eugène Bataillon, F-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
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  • RAINER HUTTERER,

    1. Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Section of Mammals, Adenauerallee 160, 53113 Bonn, Germany
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  • FRANCISCO GARCIA-TALAVERA,

    1. Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre, Calle Fuente Morales s/n, 38003 Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
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  • JACQUES MICHAUX

    1. Laboratoire de Paléontologie EPHE and Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR-CNRS 5554, cc 064, Université Montpellier II, Place Eugène Bataillon, F-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
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E-mail: cyril.firmat@u-bourgogne.fr

Abstract

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.

Ancillary